June 27, 2011

Babies, babies, babies.

My baby Santiago, who will be five soon.
Last Christmas we were very fortunate to travel to Georgia to be with family.  Our main purpose of going was to meet a new baby cousin, Gabriel.  It was also lovely to see my niece Amy who had just turned four (we hadn't seen her for a few years).  My boys wanted to sing a song at the airport when we met up with their cousin, affectionately nicknamed Baby Gabey by his dad.  We were playing around with singing the Baby, baby song by you know who.  It turned into the Baby Gabey song, and then after a while, Amy decided to go around her house singing "Babies, babies babies, oh  I love babies babies babies."

For some reason that song has gotten lodged into my brain.  It's not the song really but the idea of the song.  It's stuck somewhere more emotional I think, like in my heart.  

One of my best friends is preparing for her fourth child, who should be arriving in a few weeks, and I couldn't buy baby clothes for her.  I tried to but it made me so emotional to pick up those tiny little onesies that I ended up just buying diapers.  

When I imagine myself pregnant, or having an epidural (I hate those!), or even changing diapers or missing out on sleep, I think, yes I'm done with all that, I don't really want to do that again.  But when I imagine that little baby filling up that tiny onesie, and I imagine those little fingers and toes and chubby cheeks. . . that's when my heart melts into a puddle on the floor.  

I always thought I'd have at least three or four kids.  I grew up with three siblings.  The plan with my husband was to have at least three, although he backed out after two.  And now though I am content with the two beautiful sons I have I'm just wondering why I can't buy a baby shower gift without having an emotional episode.  Could it be that they are almost 5 and 7 and I feel how fast they're growing?  Or is it that deep down I want another baby?  And even if I do want another baby, we have an agreement that there will be no more babies. Why does it feel so sad to say that?

June 24, 2011

Looking back...

Lately I've been thinking back to when I first moved here permanently after I got married.  I think about how lonely I was and how much I wanted friends who I felt would understand me, as an American.  It was pretty tough at times.  I tried to make friends but I felt like an outsider, like I couldn't truly connect with people.  Looking back I can clearly see I was depressed, but at the time I just kept feeling like if I tried a bit harder, life would get better.  During that time I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and getting on medicine helped a bit.  I also began working at a language school and made friends with a girl who I am still friends with.  Knowing her and feeling understood helped me more than she will ever know.  We are still friends and have children that are months apart.  I am so thankful for her friendship!

I guess I've started looking back on those times because I've been reading some blogs of a few ladies who have just arrived to Mexico in the past few years.  I see how they long for American products or gadgets you just can't find here.  I can remember feeling like that. I once had my mother send me croutons and chocolate chips.  That sounds funny now, especially since you can find them in the grocery store these days.  I guess I just don't go looking for things that aren't here anymore.  At one point I decided that I would make do with what is available.  There are still a few things my mom sends me.  Socks for my boys or magazines.  If she comes for a visit I will order clothes for them online, since they are cheaper.  I also still get a few things from people (mainly chocolate :) if they happen to ask me and are going to the States.  But I don't pine away after stuff anymore.   I guess it's part of the long process of making Mexico home.

June 15, 2011

Ten Years Ago

Tomorrow is my ten year wedding anniversary.  I remember the day when I met my husband, I thought to myself that something really good would come out of knowing this man.  And I was right!

June 13, 2011

Hello Goodbye.

Sometimes it is still very obvious I am a foreigner, even after all the years I've lived here.  There are little things I do that I realize that I'm supposed to do a different way but I usually forget until after I've done them wrong.

Like in the U.S., at least in my neck of the woods, when you run into a friend or acquaintance at a store or restaurant you yell out "Hey!" or hi or hello.  Where I'm from it's a "Hey y'all!"  But here it's normal for people to yell out "Adios" when you are passing them.  I told my husband that sometimes I feel like the Beatles song Hello Goodbye.  "I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello. Hello, hello."

I also always say "Hola" to people when the proper greeting is "Buenos dias or Buenas tardes or noches".  I walk up to the door of the school to get my boys and automatically say Hola to the people around.  I think I must sound like a little kid when I do that.

Another thing I never get right is showing sympathy.  I'm good at showing it, but the words are always all wrong.  I second guess myself how to say I'm sorry for your loss or for whatever is making you sad.  I mostly just end up hugging the person.  That usually seems to smooth over my lack of eloquence.

At least I've got the kiss down.  I always go to the left for the hello and goodbye kiss.  When I was a student in Guadalajara, I accidentally went to the right and got my host family's aunt right on the mouth! Thankfully that one time was enough to learn the right direction.

June 4, 2011

Dreaming of you

Me and my grandma at my aunt's wedding.  I was four or five.

My beautiful grandmother, Marian Alta Truesdle Griffin, passed away last night.  She was surrounded by her children, husband and a few friends who sang hymns to her until her very last breath.  I know it is no coincidence that when she died they were singing a hymn called Blessed Assurance.  There is a line in it that says: Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight.  Angels descending bring from above, echoes of mercy, whispers of love.  That is when she left, during the angels part.  That is not coincidence, it was a gift.  And now she's in heaven, surely hugging her brothers and father and mother and dear friends.

The last time I was able to visit was when Alex was one.  I know she didn't hold it against me.  Once I came to Mexico it just got a lot harder to get there.  And now with two children it is almost impossible.  We wanted to go this past winter since we were in Georgia, but made the decision not to, foreseeing the very long car ride with a very whiney four year old.  

I don't have any regrets.  I spent every childhood summer with her and many Christmases as well.  I'm so glad I knew her.  Her gentleness taught me so many lessons over the years that I didn't even know I was being taught.  Everytime I woke up before dawn to go to the bathroom or because of a nightmare, there she was, reading her Bible and writing in her notebook.  I guess when you raise six children you learn to wake up very early for those few quiet moments. If I wanted to make something she would help me figure it out, whether it was a craft project, some cookies or something sewn.  She was so patient with me, and all her grandchildren. 

Last night I dreamed about her.  All night long I dreamed about her quiet gentleness and considerate kindness.  I dreamed of her laughing about something funny one of her grandchildren did or said.  I dreamed of her in her kitchen canning vegetables and baking cookies.  I dreamed of her in her garden and hanging clothes on the line. I dreamed of her whistling a song.  The words quiet, gentle spirit come to mind.  All night long I dreamed of her and I awoke thinking how much I want to be like her.  

My uncle wrote yesterday that she graduated from life.  I would like to say that she graduated summa cum laude; with the highest honors.  She leaves behind a legacy of love.  Someday if I even resemble her a little bit, maybe I'll graduate with honors too.