Letter to my unborn daughter.

Dear, Daughter,

I wanted to write you a letter as you grow in my belly. First, I want you to know how loved you are already. You are so wanted. We, your father and I, can’t wait to meet you, see your smile and learn about your unique personality. We prayed for you. I can honestly say you are a wish in our hearts that has come true.

Photo credit: Vic & Marie Photography

I wanted to share some life lessons with you because our lives are going to be different. You’re going to be growing up in a different world than what your father and I grew up. We’re going to do our best to protect you, always, and to also make sure you are surrounded by love. You were made from great love by us and our Creator.

I wanted to share with you some life lessons that I’ve learned along the way and hope that we can teach you.

Lesson 1: Be A Helper. You’re going to grow up probably way more privileged than your father and I and most people in this world are. We came from blue-collar, working-class and immigrant families from the Midwest. Your father has been working for everything he has since he was 12yrs old. You will probably not have to work as young as him for a new pair of shoes or the latest technology. However, I want you to recognize how lucky you are that we don’t have to beg, steal or depend on the government or anyone else for food and basic human needs to survive. This is not to make you ever feel better about yourself since you will notice that we may have more than others. It will be your responsibility to help those in need. You don’t lose anything by helping others and being a giver in this world.

Lesson 2: Be A Fighter. Yes, I’m encouraging you to fight! Fight for your rights and those of anyone else that needs your help and voice for equality. This is your power. Use it peacefully and always. Hopefully, by the time you are old enough to realize injustice, we’ll have made progress as a country for women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and all of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. If not, you must always stand with those who are fighting for their equal rights to exist. Most importantly, you must vote for them, with them and on their issues. Those will be your issues, as we are one. Be a fighter. You will lose nothing by standing in solidarity with others, but you will gain significantly deep relationships with those that are different than you when you stand up and fight with them.

Photo credit: Vic & Marie Photography

Lesson 3: Be Curious. I think you’re going to inherit this naturally from the both of us. I’m wildly curious about people. Your father is wildly curious about the world. Since the day I met him back in 2004, he always told me how he wanted to experience the whole world. You’re probably going to visit more foreign lands than we did at any given age you are. Your father and I, traveled a bit before you were born. We don’t plan on stopping, but taking you with us on most all of our adventures. Keep your passport near and dear. This is your ticket to the world. The 1st thing I want you to learn when you go to new places or someone’s home, eat their food. You may not always be able to learn the language but learn the basics of any home or country you visit. Be curious. You will be filled with a lifetime of adventures and memories as long as you stay curious about the world and its people.

Lesson 4: Do You, Girl! Seriously. Let me explain what I mean here. There’s going to come a time in your life when people are going to try to discourage you or not understand your dream(s). Someone is always going to try to tell you, “no” or “you can’t do that”, don’t listen to them. Your life and destiny are that of your own. This is your journey and yours alone. Let no-one else try to define your life, especially a man, friends or even us. Eat what you want, go where you want, live in whatever city you want, date who you want man or woman. Have fun discovering who you are. It’s going to take awhile, but know that you’ll get there and feel so confident in who you are when you do. Know that you deserve your blessings. Never let anyone intimidate you or dull your shine. Your mama never did and I forbid it for you. Do you, girl!

Lesson 5: Be Kind. Probably most important of all, kindness. The basis of humanity is based on kindness for one another. One of the things I love the most about your father is he is one of the kindest people I know. You’ll see because he’s probably going to be the kindest to you. You must know and acknowledge the simple fact that you are born in the United States, you’re already freer than most people around the world. You are only a few generations from being a migrant worker or coal miner in this country. You are the granddaughter of immigrants. You must never forget this. Everyone you meet, you must be kind to them, no matter where they come from or how they came into your life. You must have your heart open to people everywhere from those without homes, struggling in poverty, to all the new people you will meet when you travel the world. Be kind. Always. When you are kind you will notice the world and universe will open up to you. Your life will be filled with an abundance of joy because your heart is pure.

Photo Credit: Vic & Marie Photography

Finally, I want to remind you that you are the greatest gift and blessing in our lives. As we prepare to meet you, I feel I’ve already known you my whole life. Be patient with us and we’ll do our best to be patient with you. We’re all new at this thing, but I think we’re going to figure it out together. We love you more than you’ll ever know.

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Never could I…

We all tell ourselves something that we then tell to others about who we are. My husband loves to take naps. I would say his favorite thing to do is take a nap on the weekend’s. I always tell him and others, “I never take naps”, which for the most part is true, except for this past Saturday. I laid on the couch while he watched ??? I closed my eyes and an hour later I woke up. Stay with me for a second… He said, “Ah, I thought you never take naps! What happened? Because you sure were sleeping and snoring!” I guess I do take naps.

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February 2012, my 1st trip to San Francisco.

It started me thinking about what else have I said, I never do? It turns out more than I care to admit.

For starters, my husband. He is white aka Caucasian. He’s actually French, German, and Hungarian, but somewhere people with European ancestry get labeled as white. I used to say, “I could never date, let alone marry a white guy!” It crushes me to say or even admit that now. It’s ok, though, my husband knows that. We’re good. It’s extremely upsetting to think I would be as shallow and narrow-minded to forgo the most incredible and loving relationship of my life due to his skin color. How would I feel if he or someone else did that to me? It’s embarrassing to admit it. He can’t help that he’s white, just as I can’t help that I’m brown. We can still love one another. We can still laugh together. We can still travel the world together… You get it, in the end, it was my issue, not his. The funny thing is I’ve learned what they say is true, love is color-blind. I don’t look at my husband as my “white” husband, nor does he look at me as his “brown” wife. I think anyone in an interracial marriage can relate to that. You obviously know and can see your differences, but they become insignificant in the grander scheme of your love and life together.

Along with never dating white guys, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I could never leave my family.” Obviously, I fell in love and moved across the country, now 2x’s, so that proves that was a lie. I was afraid to leave home. While in my 20’s, I had lived on my own, in my own apartment, and paid my own bills. I was still only a stone’s throw away from my family, my safety net. If I ever felt lonely, sad, happy, hungry or just needed to do laundry for free – I could go home and I did. I would secretly judge other people who moved away from their families as not being as much of a devoted son or daughter as me. This is completely false. Again, embarrassing to admit. How could I be so small minded and judgemental of others? Moving thousands of miles away from my family has taught me it’s okay and will be okay. My ego actually thought that my family would fall apart because I wasn’t there to take care of everyone and everything. How would everyone function without me? You know what happens after you move away? Life. It goes on. My mother says it best, “you have to live your life for you now. I did my job as your mother and now I have to let you go.” That’s really a parent’s job anyway, right? Prepare us to go into the world and follow our own adventures and bliss in life.

I followed my heart to San Francisco. I surprised everyone, including my boyfriend, and bought a one-way ticket to SF. Why? Because my happiness depended on it. We were in a long distance relationship. It was becoming increasingly difficult to be apart from this man. Which leads me to my final thing I used to claim, “I could never live with a man before marriage.” What did I do? I moved across the country before we were even engaged. Why this matters, coming from a traditional Latino household the very thought of living with a man pre-marriage was never encouraged, let alone pre-engagement. I knew in my heart and soul, this was the man I was going to marry, and I did. I wasn’t going to wait forever for an engagement and luckily I didn’t have to. My husband and I, both agree that it probably would have turned out differently if we lived in the same city. He claims, he probably would’ve proposed sooner if we lived in the same place because we would’ve had more time together, which you don’t get much of in a long distance relationship. I received my whole family’s blessings to move. However, I did have an end date in mind, if he didn’t propose by a certain date. I knew, for me, I wanted to be his wife. I wanted him to be my husband. I was not going to play house forever with this man and I was prepared to walk away from it all and him if my wants weren’t going to be met.

Love has a funny way of changing everything. All of these “I could never’s” ultimately are fear-based or ego driven. It takes maturity and reflection to be able to admit and distinguish that for what it is. I’ve learned when someone says, “I can’t or I could never”, it’s also a story they are telling themselves, as I’ve told myself and others many times. “Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right.” – Henry Ford

What are the stories you tell yourself?

500 Days of Marriage

We’ve officially hit 500 days in our marriage. Is that a big deal? I guess so. Some people don’t make it to 500 days. I’m trying to think about what advice or knowledge I have to give to someone? What lessons have I learned in these first 500 days? I’m not sure if I’m qualified for that, yet. I do know, I’ve married my best friend. It’s cliché, but it’s true and it works.
I’m thinking of what has happened, since we said, “I do”, 500 days ago.
For starters, we relocated from San Francisco, CA to Houston, TX, for my husband’s career. It definitely took adjustment for us both to get used to a new place, and that’s o.k. I think what’s most important in a move, especially a cross country move is communication. There are lots of exciting things that come along with moving, but there are a million tedious things that aren’t romantic or sexy in a relationship, like calling the cable and utility companies. Either way, it’s a team effort and a way to work together in a relationship. Be clear of expectations and honest of what you can or can’t handle.
Around January of this year, while most people are pondering their new year’s resolutions, we dream about where we want to travel. We decided on France. We spent a love filled and delicious 2 weeks of April, as an early first anniversary trip. It’s important couples take time for themselves to get away from everyone and everything, explore and experience new things together, and create new memories. Take your love and make love all around the world if you can.

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Upon our return from Europe, we decided it was time for that next step in life, homeownership. You learn a lot about your spouse when you decide to purchase your first home. Even more so, when you’re debating paint colors. Want to test your marriage? Try doubling the painting budget. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this homebuying experience, don’t try to buy everything at once. Take your time to furnish your home on the outside and inside. Your husband and credit card bill will thank you. I know it’s easy to get swept up in wanting to buy everything new and fill up that new home. My advice, buy your essentials. Then let everything else you need come to you in time, as far as minor furniture, wall decor, and kitchen gadgets. Take your time making your house into a home.

We officially have a backyard!

We officially have a backyard!

Since we live apart from both of our families, it’s essential we make the effort to see both sides of the family. It’s a blessing when it can happen at once. We spent a family filled and limited WiFi 5 days on the breathtaking North Shore of Minnesota. We disconnected from technology and connected with one another. This is important! Nowadays people’s idea of connecting is via social media. I can’t explain what it means to bond with your in-laws on a nature hike, a sunny bike ride, or over smores and a campfire. I saw my husband skip rocks on the water with his father. He also drank a bottle of Tequila with mine. Yeah, they were “bonding”. While it’s easy to get caught up in wedded bliss, it’s good to come up for air and spend time with the parentals. It’s sweet medicine for the heart and soul.

Hiking in Northern Minnesota

Hiking in Northern Minnesota

While it has been a remarkable first 500 days, full of travels, moves, and family, I’m dreaming of our future, and everything is a possibility.

Here's to the next 500!

Here’s to the next 500!

What will the next 500 days bring? The best part about being married to your best friend, I don’t know what the future holds, but I know whatever it is we’ll be enjoying it together.

Family near or far

Labor Day in Minneapolis. September 1st. With both our families, celebrating my sweet father in law's birthday.

Labor Day in Minneapolis. September 1st. With both our families, celebrating my sweet father in law’s birthday.

“Family can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” We’ve all heard the saying. We recently went home to my husband’s hometown of Minneapolis.
Minnesota is beautiful this time of year. It was a much needed break from the Texas heat and humidity.
What made this trip special is we were able to spend more time, 6 days in total with our families. I say families because my parents drove up from Indiana to visit with us and my in-laws. We were able to attend my husband’s childhood friend’s wedding, visit the Minnesota State Fair, celebrate my sweet father in law’s birthday, and welcome our niece home from her 1st day of Kindergarten.
We haven’t seen our families since our wedding in May. Before that, since the holidays. I did go home in March for my Bachelorette party, bridal shower, and final dress fitting. AND… I did spend Dec-Feb with my family. I do get to see my family a little more often than my husband gets to see his family. That’s because I don’t have a workplace to go to and it’s easier for me to travel.
My family lives in Indiana. My husband’s family lives in Minnesota. We lived in California. Now we live in Texas. We will most likely never live in the same state as either of our families. I’m ok with that. We may not get to spend every birthday, holiday, or every weekend together, but that doesn’t make us any less of a family.
My entire life I’ve maintained the stance: “I could never leave my family. I could never live far away from my family. I could never leave Chicago.” Well, I was wrong. I am, and everything is good. Really. Having a close relationship with my family is an important part of my life. Now I’m learning to live apart from those I hold the closest to my heart. It’s not necessarily easy, especially in the beginning.
The hardest part for me has to have been missing the birth of my 1st born nephew. I wasn’t there to welcome my nephew into the world. I wasn’t there for my little brother, who isn’t so little and 28yrs old. I couldn’t be there to see him become a father or see my parents become 1st time grandparents. I did go home a month later. I still got see my nephew in the newborn stage of life. I still got to smell his sweet baby scent. I still got to hold his tiny self and hug him as he slept and slept and slept.
On my husband’s side of the family, we have one niece and nephew. They are 5 and 3yrs old. Every time we see them they get bigger, they use more words, and they have more energy. We do our best to send birthday gifts, Halloween treats, and other holiday gifts. We want them to know, even though we only see one another a handful of times a year, they are thought of and loved. We are still a family. We have been fortunate enough to spend the Christmas holidays – New Year’s with our families.
I’ve learned since moving away from my family, a little space and time apart is quite normal and healthy. I think for 1st and 2nd generation Americans it’s often difficult and huge amounts of guilt can come along with that decision. I was alleviated from that guilt as I was given the blessing from my family to follow my life journey. My Papi actually told me, “I can’t stand in the way of love. If you have to go, then you have to go and find your happiness and follow your love.” That’s not an easy thing for a Mexican father to tell his only daughter, and it wasn’t without tears in both of our eyes.
Sure, I could’ve never moved. It would have been at the expense of my own happiness. I’m a much better daughter, sister, and friend because I followed my heart and my own life journey. My husband’s career has a good chance of moving us, again and again. I maintain the stance, “wherever you go, I go.” That’s the truth. I’m excited about our unknown possibilities in the world. His path and my path are one.

I think of my grandparents who left Mexico to start a new journey and life together. I think of all immigrant families who’ve crossed borders, oceans, deserts, for whatever their reasons. For most of our families to continue their journey and path in life. As a species, humans, have been moving since the start of humanity for survival, safety, freedom, opportunities, you name it. This is just the beginning of our journey together.

We may not get to spend every weekend, holiday, or special event with our families. However, I assure you, it makes the time we do spend together sweet as tres leches cake.