Pulling Back the Curtain…

Several readers have commented they would’ve liked more back story about my infertility, specifically my miscarriages. A few have asked if I also kept a journal when I was first pregnant, and why I didn’t include some of those entries in Stretch Marks.

journalsA mighty dangerous question for a writer. I hold you responsible, dear inquisitive readers, for hours of procrastination in the guise of research. Within easy reach, I found the raggedy journal on the bottom shelf leaning against one of its many predecessors, a composition book. It’s the third one from the left. A wallflower among sassy colored fabric and shiny binder rings. In 1990 the cover was vibrant Florentine paper, now its faded much like the memories it holds. Until curiosity seduced me away from my  deadlines.

I came across this April 25, 1990 entry, written in English and Spanish, and marveled at the idealistic woman I used to be, expecting pregnancy and motherhood to just happen as I marched on with my life. Even after my Ob/Gyn confirmed that at three months, our first baby, who we nicknamed “Beak” no longer had a heartbeat, I remained optimistic.


I Remember…

writing these words in my journal, “Today, I become a mother. My arms will be full.” Emotions swelled like high tide that I was on terra firma to becoming a mother. The notion of transforming my journals into a book hadn’t taken root.

I spent the next few years overwhelmed by raising my toddler sons and adjusting to the considerable changes in my life. I had to accept that couldn’t have it all. I closed my web design business. I could only take on one day at a time.

And one day at a time, I began to write my story with the express purpose of wrestling with  my doubts. One page at a time evolved into a draft then a bona fide manuscript.

Today, I’m finally holding Stretch Marks in my hands and opened up the paperback to this page.

chaper 13_march 2013

It should be available on Amazon.com in a few days. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks!

The Missing Element?

From Motherlode to Mamiverse the discussions on balancing family, work, parental roles, marriage, and life in general continues to be juggled between the parents and most of the time, it seems, excludes the kids.

Why aren’t our children part of the discussion?

When my sons were just beginning grade school and learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I introduced them to John F. Kennedy. They were on the apex of an “I want” blue streak, (insert toy, DVD, pet, or candy).

I was primed to give them my usual spiel about the importance of earning and saving their money, but instead remarked, “You know, an older friend of mine, someone like Grammy, once said to me when I was young, “…ask not what your parents can do for you; ask what you can do for your parents.” I apologized to President Kennedy for masticating his legendary quote, but someone like their grandmother packed a bigger punch than a president. They stared back at me with furrowed eyebrows.  I explained that my older friend was asking us to think of others.

Now my sons are leaving high school and I continue to remind them, using the correct version of President Kennedy’s quote, that the world doesn’t owe them anything, instead its about them contributing to their world, community, and  family.

So, how do we include our children?

Crazy, Loco Love on MITM

When it comes to loving my teenagers, Crazy Loco Love stretches me just shy of breaking point. At times, the connection between our children almost seems hardwired to snap, split, and break away while they reach for adulthood. They seem like strangers when they’re sheathed in snarky self-absorption. The plausibility of body snatching pods intensifies: I’ve stared into their eyes, just in case.

My mother used to call it amor salvaje, a rough and tumble love. Before becoming a mother, I conjured up Rarotonga, the love goddess of the jungle featured in the weekly fotonovelas we swapped with friends. My mom meant teenagers baring more than just teeth and stomping their way through life, “Just wait and see. Maybe you’ll be lucky.”

Now, I do see. My old-school Latina bag of tricks has a hole in one corner where lectures, ground rules, and pronouncements scatter and fall on deaf ears. The once tried and true approaches to keep conflict from boiling over are tattered from overuse and seldom catch my teenagers’ attention anyway.

Continue reading at Mothering In The Middle.com… and when you’re done, please LIKE or retweet my post. Thanks!

Getting Closer!

Earlier this morning, I finalized the book cover changes with CreateSpace and should receive a physical copy in the mail early next week, if all goes well.

In the meantime, here’s what the front cover looks like…

SM_Book Cover


I’m in a reading slump.

There are two books of fiction and a memoir scattered around the house that I’m a few chapters into, but so far, theirs no tug at the bookworm in me. I’m not holding these highly regarded books responsible; its me.

Won’t you help?

I want to read.

I need the escape.

So, please recommend some of your favorites.

What books have sucked you out of the ordinary and taken you away?


Mami, How Often Do You Mate?

When my oldest was in first grade, he would jump into the car talking a mile a minute, for weeks, about the hen in his classroom that about to lay her eggs. He was dying to see her lay them, but was even more so mesmerized by this thing his teacher called mating. Strapped into his car seat behind me, he explained the process in detail and went on for quite some time with a professorial air.

Hand extended out the back window, he said, “So, Mami, how often do you and Papi mate?”

I was about to put my years as a family life educator to the test, and explain the difference between animals and humans mating, but instead replied, “As often as we can, mijito.”

His satisfied grin and change of subject reminded me that indeed, less is more.

Twelve years later as my oldest is months away from graduation, I find the same is true. They talk. I listen. At times, I laugh and empathize other times my jaw goes numb, but now more than ever, less is more.

Less on our part, means opening up an opportunity for our young adults to step up and do more for themselves. Missteps and all.

Post Adoption Overwhelm!

When I read Rosie Molinary’s post, How to Build Attachment After Adoption on Mamiverse.com, I was sucked back into fifteen year old memories of coming home with my sons.

What a mixed bag of emotions! I was relieved beyond words to leave Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and the 24/7 fear that had become a noxious second skin. I was home and grateful that my man no longer had to commute from northern California to El Paso, Texas to visit us. I no longer had to depend on public telephones or barricade the front door with furniture before going to bed.

I’d daydreamed that we’d parade around our neighborhood with our toddler sons and host parties to celebrate our homecoming, but instead I only wanted to cocoon with our family. I turned off the telephone ringer, closed the living room curtains, and forced my man to deal with well-meaning neighbors while my guilt escalated.

How I wish Ms. Molinary’s sage advice had been available to assuage my ever mounting guilt over what I perceived to be selfish and crazy behavior on my part. She outlines five practices to build attachment with your children: Slowly transition, Stay home, Avoid the party, Take it all on, and Talk, hold & play. They are also critical in helping curb the overwhelming emotions circling the new family.

While most of us think of adoption as a happy ending, it took time to explain to family and friends that my four-year old hadn’t given up hope his birth mother would find him. He missed the life we had in Juárez and while he liked la casa americana, he wanted to go back.

So while our loved ones wanted to rejoice that after a decade of infertility we finally had kids, my sons and I weren’t quite ready to celebrate.

What A Problem!

The New York Times’, The Motherlode needs blogs. KJ Dell’Antonia wants a fresh, new blogroll.

“So I’m hereby bringing back a Motherlode staple: the blogroll. A fresh, new blogroll, cleansed of the defunct and abandoned sites that once brought it down, and filled (I hope) with voices crying in the wilderness in the classic blog sense…. But what I really hope to share and read are bloggers doing the real thing: writing about life as a parent in a way that makes it all fresh and new and infuriating and joyful again…”

Well, let’s help her out! Please submit http://www.stretchmarks.me and other blogs you’ve been following and telling others about. Thanks!

A Valentine


A Valentine