Tag Archive | love

Day 366


The battle cry this year has been, “Fuck 2016”. But for me, this year hasn’t been all bad. I started the year in the red and ended in the black. After difficulties and conflict at work, a new assignment allows me peace to be more innovative in working with a marginalized population. I found a new church home, after many years of ignoring religion. A new award, for my work, now sits on a shelf in my living room. The scale showed me numbers I haven’t seen in many years, and better health is returning in increments.



Celebrity deaths have taken over the news and face book feeds. The cult of personality is alive and well. That’s okay, they enliven our lives by entertaining us, many putting into words the turmoil or joy of the day. At the same time that we were mourning people who were only thankful for the money we put in their pockets, there are people being bombed out of their homes, people who placed themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation free who have no place to rest their heads, people who don’t have clean water to drink, and a nasty election cycle that brought out the monsters who have been sleeping under our beds. As I’ve said before, we all have the power to clean up our corner of the world and it’s time we stepped up to the plate.



Putting words into action is difficult for many, but it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Write yourself a check and find a way to cash it. Improve your life and then go out and improve someone else’s. Find someone to mentor. Find someone to be your mentor. Support with your presence not just a donation. Show your loved ones that they are indeed loved. Turn your online activism into action. March in a protest. Call your legislator. Become a legislator. **insert your own positive note here**



Just because some doors have been closed this year doesn’t mean that there isn’t something waiting for you. I’ve had a couple of big doors closed in my face this year. One was slammed without warning, the other was gentle, with me actually handing over the keys. Boo hoo? Hell no! I don’t believe in reinvention for myself. However I do believe in tweaking things that haven’t been working smoothly. When I recently submitted my vacation request for the coming year, I had my family calendar at my side. Much of next year’s vacation time has been taken over by family events, and I say that joyfully. I signed up for a writing class because I’ve been unfocused for much too long and need a kick in the butt. Brunch, lunch, and dinner dates are already in the works. Looking forward to more face time with friends and family. I’ve been gentle with myself, even though I still ask myself, “What would Pop say?”. But it’s time to put myself back out there.


As always, loyal readers and friends, may God’s grace be apparent to you, because it’s always there even when you don’t notice. You have been loved. We’ll get through this together.14191951_10207320815844309_1830921798756828375_n






To Jillian on her 30th birthday

Thirty years ago it was just you and me, yea there were people with lab coats and scrubs all around jill babyus, but all I saw was you, and all you saw was me. I loved you from the moment I knew you were coming and prayed for a girl for the whole nine months. When they placed your swaddled body in my arms at last, I didn’t unwrap you immediately to count fingers and toes, like normal mothers do, I just stared at your beautiful face and thanked God for you, my precious last baby.

Scan 20My wild child with the uncontrollable hair. The child who talked with her whole body while her eyes sparkled. The two year old who accused me of not understanding her emotions. The eight year old who told me that I wasn’t fun anymore. My accident-prone little klutz, I’m still apologizing for handing down that gene. The thirteen year old with her first broken heart, you knew that you could always cry in front of me and not be ridiculed. The fifteen year old who wondered how I could still love her after a knucklehead decision; Child, I’ve always loved you, unconditionally.Scan 18

Your life plays out in the pictures taken by my heart. Sitting on the bleachers watching you make it to first base at your softball games. Your ballet recital with you in a lavender tutu and mascara’d lashes so long they dirtied the lens of your eyeglasses. Seeing the little number 12 running up and down the basketball court throwing her entire heart into the game. Learning how to cheer on a swimmer with short bursts of, “Go Go Go”, while you swam all of your high school years finally making it to the county championship. All are moments I see when I close my eyes.

Scan 17I was proud of you when you decided to make your way to William Patterson instead of the Rutgers, like all the women in our family. A place where you wouldn’t be someone’s little sister anymore. It was a brave and gutsy move from a kid whose steel spine was beginning to show. You still had your flighty moments but those receded into the background when you signed the papers that made you a nursing student. You took my breath away the first time I saw you in your uniform, as much as you hated it.college jill

All the liquids in my body made their way to my eyes at your Pinning Ceremony. There in front of my eyes, wavering in the candlelight, was my baby girl becoming a professional woman. As a class officer, you played a part in the ceremony and my heart overflowed with pride at the woman you had become. A few days later we cheered ourselves hoarse at your university graduation just so you could hear us as they called your name.

Jillian de la Hoz, BSN. Yes, it had a nice ring to it. As a nurse, you have flourished. It is the best career for someone with a huge heart and mounds of compassion. I even accept the scoldings I get from you because they are earned, but also because they are given with love.

Many years ago, you had to write an essay about someone you looked up to. You chose to write about me, so now I turn the tables just to let you know that I absolutely look up to you. Being chosen to be your mother has been my greatest joy.

Happy Birthday Jillybean!943099_10200183999228354_606713489_n

The power of chicken soup

I am currently as sick as a dog. Don’t have a clue where that saying comes from, but I use it when appropriate. My cough hurts, as does my throat. I’m thinking that I’m probably in for a bad weekend. What to do, what to do? Well, chicken soup of course.

Chicken soup. That magical elixir that cures everything from colds to heartbreaks. I never realized how much I relied on the healing power of chicken soup until I looked inside my freezer and saw a container. That’s when I acknowledged that I am never without a container of soup at hand. A lengthy marriage taught me to cook for four people. Now that I live on my own, there are certain recipes that are easily adapted to single serving size, and others that are not. Chicken soup is one that I haven’t been able to adapt. Consequently, I make soup for four people, eat what I need at the moment, and freeze the rest.

This has become an advantage to my daughters, who believe in the healing power of my magic soup. The phone rings. A voice asks for soup. My answer is always, “Come get it”.

My home has become the place to go to on three special days; the day before Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Eve. Chicken soup has become the appetizer for all three dates, especially for those who arrive early (the Latino equivalent of ‘On Time’).

The real magic of my soup was verbalized by my sister on the most tragic day my family has ever experienced. When my sister gave birth to a huge baby boy in 1989, I took a container of chicken soup to her hospital room. She slurped it up in an instant and said “Ahh”. Ten months later, that gorgeous boy was taken from us very suddenly and his Titi went straight into the kitchen to make soup, unconsciously seeking the comfort that making soup afforded her. When I served my sister some soup she said, “Do you realize that the last time I had your soup was when he was born?” I gave her a watery smile and found a corner in which to cry. I had not remembered, but now will never forget.

Whether it is made with fideos or rice, whether it has cubed potatoes or not, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s made with love it has healing powers and will always bring comfort to the cook and to the recipient.