Soul Bazaar

A Little Person’s Voice About Divorce, and the Hispanic Nannie, a Hero in the Shadows

March 25th, 2008 10 Comments » Filed under Letters

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Last week, somebody very close and very dear called me and told me that she had written a letter – Letters are powerful healing tools, for the giver and the receiver – she told me the story. Her brother in law had separated from his wife 3 months ago, and is now considering going back to his marriage.

She said she had this urge, a feeling bigger than her, to sit down by the computer and start typing. She said she started typing and started crying. She said she couldn’t stop writing, neither crying, until she finished the letter.

The letter is about a stuck little person hiding in a room feeling he or she wants to crawl under a rock and never come out. Sometimes our childish human behavior even when we are way into adulthood is very clear, like watching the 5 year old child acting out in the 55 year old lady’s body, who monopolizes the moment, not being able to share conversation with the group. Acting out in the fifties what could not be acted out at five. Sometimes is more subtle. In any case, while we engage in our childish behavior as adults, we don’t think while we fight with our spouse that maybe, there is a scared little person hidden in a room hibernating. With a desperate need to talk to somebody that will reassure him or her that his or her feelings are valid, and he or she doesn’t have to be trapped in that reality for ever. Here is the letter.

We are not disclosing the real names, in order to protect the persons involved, especially the children. Enjoy! Perhaps you feel identified or know a child in the same situation.

Hey. I am emailing you because I figured it’s better than a phone call for me. It’s easier to express myself. However, if you want to talk about it, I am there for you.

As you know, my mom and dad did not have the most cordial relationship. Yes, they loved each other very much.

(Although, I am convinced that my dad loved my mom lots more because he was hooked to her mental games. I realised it in my adulthood). However, when they fought, it was very sad for me. As a matter of fact, here I am, 39 and I can’t even type about it without crying. When my dad and mom argued, I would literally lock myself in my room and hibernate.

I am thankful for having had a live-in nanny that was my rock. I could “hide” with her and she would tell me that “everything would be fine”. Like I said, I had an adult to talk to and let everything out. Your little boys need to be able to talk to someone other than you or Elizabeth or anyone else in the families (non-bias) and VENT!!!

You can tell that Derek has so much inside that he needs to let out, but he can’t, because he unknowingly can’t tell anyone in either family for fear of hurting the parents. I, personally, think it would be very good for them to see a therapist. I had a nanny that I could count on for that, and if she would not have been around, I would have become even more of an introvert. I see myself in Derek. A shy little person.

Anyway, back to me (Peter would probably say typical…me me me). One time, when my parents had a screaming match, my dad got so frustrated that he kicked the shower door and had to get 23 stitches on the arch of his foot. He never hurt my mother physically, but he had to take it out somehow. That was the first big fight that I can remember and we were still living on Belle-view Dr. I was 8, I think.

We moved to the house on 19th street, which you have been to many times. And the fights continued, but now, my mom started calling the cops. Jason, that was the worst thing ever.,, I was so mortified every time the cops came…and they were there often. My house was perfectly situated where the school buses would all come down Stark Street, (which is directly in front of the house). I had to come up with creative ideas as to why the cops were at my house AGAIN!…IT TOTALLY SUCKED!!!

They also would fight when I had friends over, therefore I did not have friends over that often. When they came, I would turn up the stereo or TV up really loud, so they would not hear my parents fighting (again, verbally, never physically). I tried to pretend that it was not happening, but it was…

All I wanted to do was crawl under a rock and never come out. Seriously, it got to the point that I did not want to invite my friends over for the fear of my parent’s fighting. Now, I did have one thing going for me. My dad was in the travel business, which meant that he traveled all the time. He would be gone 1/2 of the year total. I hate to say it, but I could not wait for my dad to leave. Not having my dad around was like living in paradise… not because I didn’t love him, but because I knew there weren’t going to be any fights…and I could have my friends over (that included Elizabeth, BTW).

Now, when I knew my dad was coming back, my stomach would turn, I would feel sick. Since he was usually coming back from Europe, that meant that he would arrive at home when I was at school. I didn’t want to go home. Actually, I didn’t want to go home A LOT!!!

Now, you tell me… is that the kind of household a kid should come home to? A kid’s home should be their sanctuary where they should always feel safe…which is what your brother and I have given Rachel. Whenever I pick her up from school and I have to run errands afterwards, she gets upset because she wants to go home. She loves her home, not just in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense.

My parents started sleeping in different bedrooms…try explaining that to your friends when you’re 10 or 11 years of age. Finally, when I graduated from high school, they divorced. But, up to that point, my mom kept telling me that they would not get divorced until I was older and out of high school. I know I have already told you this, but it got to the point that I resented my dad, a lot. No matter what people say, kids naturally have a tendency to be on their mom’s side, when there is turmoil. But, if there isn’t any turmoil, kids grow to love both parents for who they really are. I was able to enjoy both my mom and dad SOOOOO much more once they got divorced and were living in separate homes.

Looking back, I wish my parents would have divorced much earlier, so I could have had more of a normal life.

Looking back, I wish I would have not seen my parents argue in front of me and calling each other names.

Looking back, I wish I would have had a chance to get to know my “happy and sweet and always there for me dad,” earlier in my life.

Looking back, I wish I had my WHOLE house as my sanctuary, not just my room.

Looking back, I wish my parents would have thought of me and not themselves which would have meant they would have divorced earlier and our quiet lives could have started earlier.

Looking back, I DID have a wonderful childhood with 2 caring parents, but I would not have said that at the time…maybe if they would have divorced earlier, I could have.

I know YOU can provide Derek & Francis that home! I honestly, deep in my heart, don’t think you can do that with Elizabeth. And believe me, it really hurts for me to say that, since Elizabeth, after all, was one of my best friends.

I hope I didn’t go on and on, but if I can help you understand what it was like, growing up in an unpredictable environment, then, I can only hope that you will do what is best for your boys. They are 2 beautiful little boys. And I am really honored to have had the chance to get to know them better these last few months. They are so different now, they are more open.

They are my family, too!!

Yeah! AND for the first time EVER…. When I asked Rachel to guess who was coming over yesterday, she did not guess Joseph or Kevin as she always said… this time she shouted with excitement “Derek and Francis?!?!”. See, it scares me that if you and Elizabeth attempted to get back together, we will see you guys 1-2 times a year at best. I fear that so much, and I honestly don’t know what I would tell her… and what would you say to your boys as to why you don’t see us as much. Because, I really think that would happen!

Please, please, please feel free to call me or come over anytime!! We love you and your boys very much!!!

Now, let’s plan our future family trips… NYC, Canada, Disney World, Chile, Brazil… or wherever our family’s hearts desire!!!

Chantal

Motherhood and War

Sometimes we don’t see the big picture. Do we?

When I came to the USA from Spain, my two oldest boys were 8 and 2 years old. I started a business, a cafe-bakery. It was a lot of work. I spent long hours at the store. Foreseeing that I had to work with a peace of mind, I hired a Salvadorean nanny to take care of the kids. I was coming from Spain and the idea of a day care didn’t feel right at the time. Especially with my middle son being only a toddler.

Her name was Lilian. She was tall, solid and strong. She was always ready to show off her front teeth, embossed with gold, with a big smile, in the way Salvadorean country people decorate their teeth perhaps to remind themselves of the resplendent glitter in a constant smile. I just love that custom, I know, I wouldn’t do it myself, but I see a lot of sense in their tradition.

Anyway, back to “Nanina” as my boys used to call her. This was in the eighties, El Salvador was in the middle of the civil war. She had left her 3 little kids behind to be taken care by relatives, with the purpose of being able to win their bread here in the USA. She had been granted asylum, as I recall.

She took care of my boys like they were her own. She was earthy, warm, funny and lively. It was like she was giving my children what she could not give her own children due to the sad circumstances in her life. Without restriction. As a mother also I couldn’t possibly imagine how hard must have been for her. Nevertheless, she chose to deposit all that love she carried inside like the glow of her golden teeth on my kids. What a gift! The boys adored her.

Many times when we came home at night, the kids were already asleep. She waited for us with her golden smile, to tell us about the day… what they said, what they did, what they ate, did they cry, did they laugh, did they fight, did they take a bath etc. We lived in a very small apartment. She slept in a large bedroom with the kids and we hardly had furniture. After eating something very rapidly, my husband and I would rush to the king bed, the only piece of furniture we had in our bedroom to calm our tired feet and she would lie down there, at the feet of the bed telling the story of the day, eager to also hear our story of the day. She loved that time of day, because she got to talk with adults, and she loved my husband’s sense of humor, she would often say, bursting in laughter “Ay don Pepe, Usted me hace reir” while Pepe would continue with the rosary of anecdotes of the day, ornamented by his great sense of humor. The story about how flat his feet felt from being on them all day, or the story of the Greek guy who owned half of the block and came to share half a doughnut with his friend daily.

I treasure those moments in my mind, I am so grateful to her. She was my hero, she taught me about living in the present. She gave me the gift of her motherhood when my kids couldn’t have me. She was an enlightened witness.

When she left, she kept calling every year for mother’s day, and would say: “Feliz día de la madre Niña Luzma” and for father’s day she would call my husband and say “Feliz día del padre, don Pepe”. After a few years, we lost contact with her. I would love to find her and tell her in person, now with the historical perspective, how grateful I am to her. I would love to hug her and lose myself in her earthy embrace, like my kids did. She made the transition in adapting to the new environment, being an immigrant so much more fun, and real.

This post is dedicated to all those Hispanic nannies who give their golden love to little shy persons. Is a testimony to the quiet hero that keeps spreading her earthy motherly love to kids all over the world without much acknowledgment.

Luz

The Thought Provoking, Irreverent  Pearl Necklace Grandmother of the 21st C. Paradigm Shifter, Poet, Storyteller, Marketer, Visionary, Blogger, Coach.

Founder

Soul Hangout http://soulhangout.net/2171
Founder of  Co-Creative Circles of Coherence, Soul Mastermind Groups. Consciously Connecting & Combining Intelligence with a touch of “Curry”. The 7 “C”‘s of the 7 Condiments of Cooperation

Luz

The Thought Provoking, Irreverent Pearl Necklace Grandmother of the 21st C. Paradigm Shifter, Poet, Storyteller, Marketer, Visionary, Blogger, Coach. Mrs. Fire

“50/50 The Magic of the Middle Line”, Experience Coaching”

Founder Soul Hangout & Co-Creative Circles of Coherence, Soul Mastermind Groups. Consciously Connecting & Combining Intelligence with a touch of “Curry”. The 7 “C”‘s of the 7 Condiments of Cooperation

http://soulhangout.net/2171

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