This past month was all about family. Between the end of the year school stuff with my boys, graduations, baseball and family visits. Thankfully I’m starting to have more good days than bad. The good days allows me to have a little fun, quality family time and attend some important events. This is huge milestones for me after a season of healing, mainly being home. Family has always been important to me and Daniel. I beleive family teaches you how to love like God loves. There is an unconditional love. Regardless of the differences there is always love. I can tell you all about my family just by sharing the past month.
The family visits started with my sister and Goddaughter coming to town not once but twice in the past month. I’ve mentioned in past post that my sister is one of the closest people to me. Not only is she my sister but has been a mother figure. She was someone who always believed in me and took me in during hard times in life and helped me be a better person. It’s been difficult for her to visit because she’s been traveling the world for business and she lives on the other side of California. So our time is precious and we usually make the most of it. This was the first time she seen me after fighting another round with valley fever.
We didn’t have anything planned and everything was spontaneous. Going to a women’s event at church was nice to share with my sister. A lot of the women there have been proxy sisters since I can’t enjoy my sister all the time. I haven’t seen many of them in a while too. The weekend was already fulfilling and good for the soul. It hasn’t been easy to go places for too long. I’ve done this in the past and know I can’t push myself in that way anymore. I always felt being with family was healing so I push through the best I can. I’m still learning the balance. I believe this life is all about these little moments. This time around with the recent infection and kidney transplant failure has been one of the toughest struggles to date. I may look well on the outside but inside my body aches, my mind is a blur and makes it hard to be present even when I’m present. However, thank God my family can understand this and help me when I fall short.
I’ve always been big about being apart of my kids activities. Academics was never my strong suit. I believe both me and Daniel were different learners. It wasn’t until college that I was able to achieve straight A’s and be on the honor roll. In grade school it was hard to focus and just didn’t have the support. It was my son’s 8th grade promotion. My boys both inherited our wonderful genes in being unique and creative learners. They both had their struggles in school but they now had names for it. It helped us to understand how they learned. I told them early on that they will have to work harder than other kids. This didn’t come easy because of all that was happening to us personally. We did our best and wished they didn’t have the added stress from my chronic illnesses and family loss. I always tell them to believe that they will be stronger for it. I know this because their parents are stronger for the struggles. It’s what you do next that will always matter.
We have seen the difference it makes in staying involved. We never missed an open house or school function. Even when they would tell us we didn’t have to. We did. I was the PTA/class mom for both of their elementary years. By the time they were in middle/high school my health worsened and I could no longer be involved in that way. It made it difficult to know what was going on. My youngest had a lot of struggles and towards the end he had to prove that he was ready for High School. I have to thank my son’s best friend’s family for helping us with the many days I would get hospitalized. He would spend even school nights there just so he had a ride to school the next day. It made it easier that they understood family challenges as they have had their own share with a family member who deals with health challenges. When you can share something like this; you have an understanding that makes you like family.
Having the family there to cheer my boy at his promotion to High School meant a lot to us all. Since my boys lost their granny and grandpa (my hubby’s parents) celebrations have been different. Their granny didn’t miss anything and they could expect a call from their Grandpa. Thankfully their granny’s sister who my kids call “Auntie Treats” and her husband along with other family members has made the effort in being there for our family especially the boys. Helping fill in what’s missing. As hard as it can be, I will say it has only made our family circle stronger. Knowing how important it is to be there not just in the bad times but especially in the good times. After all, we are built on moments. It’s the people who are there to support you in important life events that you’ll always remember.
I pushed a little harder to keep up with my sister and Goddaughter. They are used to being on the go and I’m used to being a homebody these days. They are always full of adventures. Something I sure was ready for. I have been cooped up in the house and was starting to get anxious to live life like a normal person again. Which is impossible but I have a new normal to get used to. You would think I would have this down by now. But it keeps changing as the illnesses pile up. It’s those moments that can make you feel normal. Like enjoying food which is always a struggle. My sister always takes us to the best restaurants. This is always good for me because it’s less processed and freshly cooked. This is something we can’t do often so I appreciate it even more so. That’s why I try to capture it all. This is the life I’m living. I’m thankful that my sister till this day takes care of me. It’s hard to accept but I can’t bless unless I allow myself to be blessed. Something she has taught me.
Sometimes the best plans are last-minute. My cousin who is Quez’s Godfather wanted to have lunch and spend some quality time with his godson. My other cousin who is my oldest son’s Godfather came too. Along with my Godfather and aunt. Which gave an opportunity for me to spend time with two of my Goddaughters, niece and nephew. Can’t forget to mention my sister got some quality time with her Godsons. Godparents are a huge thing in my cultural. I think it’s important to have spiritual mentors and people who you can look to as another “mother figure” & “father figure”. Plus, it’s a good reason to spoil Godchildren rotten. Something I wish we can do more often but we do our best and hope all our Godchildren know that we would always be there especially when it matters most. But really, there are only so many people that you can depend on. I am very lucky to have an amazing example with mine. As they say it takes a village to raise up a kid. This is the village you chose.
This is our Godson Julian who graduated High School. It was bittersweet as he lost his dad this year. James “Pork Chop” Garcia, a man so filled with life and was taken too soon. His sudden death was hard on us all but only can imagine how hard it is on his children. This is when it’s important for God parents to be there. It’s what has been asked of us. We will love our Godchildren like our own. We know his pops is looking down from heaven so proud. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter in life will take him as he pursuis a career in the culinary arts.
Now this girl here is someone we consider a Goddaughter. Since moving to Sacramento we were able to be closer to her and her brother who is our Godson. She automatically called Daniel Nino since she was little and I was her Auntie Bel. I will say she has fulfilled my need for a baby girl (along with my other nieces). Only difference is I got to do life with her more often because we lived so close. Every time she would come over she was my little helper. Our house was always open to our nieces and nephews. We often would pile them in our van and took them to church to youth activities. We spent many weekends even weekdays doing family life together. Memories that will always be cherished. She too is promoting to High School.
The following week my husband’s side of the family decided to come over and celebrate all the recent graduates. This was now two weekends that my house was filled with family. Not easy when we live so far. I’m definitely thankful because it’s easier on me. It’s also nice to just get together on a good note. Our family has endured so much loss these past couple years that we all need more times like this. As always the food was amazing along with just being together.
In this photo is two generations of cousins. Lots of cousins missing. My husband’s family is huge. Mine is big but his is HUGE! Every year we have several babies born. As fast as they are coming is as fast as they are going. When death is so present in your reality. It can make you bitter or better. Thankful for all the new life that gives promise for the future. I’m so proud of our family for pulling through the hard times. It’s not easy and it’s a day-to-day thing. This family here is a great example in being there especially in the hard times. They’ve came to the hospital for my major surgeries and have always been a great support to us.
I had to recover from the busyness and had a good week just resting. When my sister told me she would be down for business in the bay area; I knew I needed to see her even if it was just for a couple days. This happen to be the weekend my brother had his daughter so it worked perfectly. She rented a beautiful house that fitted us all. It’s rare for my siblings to be together. It’s always complicating to make arrangements. Mainly due to distance and transportation.
I planned for a restful weekend since I’ve had some new complications that I’m dealing with. I have Ascites an accumulation of fluid in my peritoneal cavity in my tummy. Thankfully I still have a catheter from home dialysis. I am able to drain this fluid throughout the week. This has brought on new pain and challenge. The hard part is not knowing why I have it. They believe it’s side effects from the intravenous medication that I was treated for the infection I’m fighting. I don’t doubt it as it has damage my transplanted kidney. This makes me want to be with my family even more. I don’t want to get stuck over thinking what is going on with me. It was good timing to get away.
My sister always makes that happen someway, somehow. I always enjoy our silliness together. Laughing is the greatest medicine and what I love most when I’m with my family. We literally shared one room together. I got to do a little cooking in this dream kitchen. Usually what I love to do for my sister and her family; who can’t enjoy as many homecooked meals when their on the go. I wanted to make a big father’s day spread but time and energy didn’t allow that. What’s important is the time we got to spend. It’s always good for us as a family to get away from it all. Doesn’t matter where. As long as we can be together.
The best part of the mini getaway is to see our babies together. I miss my God daughter so much! Especially my very first God daughter since I only see her a few times out of the year. Their life has been super hectic with the new success of my brother-in-law and sister’s businesses. She is now in independent study so she can travel the world with them. Her life was never normal but I think that’s what makes her who she is. I wish we had more time but we will always be kindred spirits. We are so alike and don’t have to be together a lot to be this way. I’m glad my sister had lots of practice with me. She will always be my first baby girl! Now my brother’s daughter who is also my Goddaughter is someone I get to see often. Something I’m grateful for because God has given me all these girls to love on.
Being in the bay area made it closer to the hubby’s work. This cuts his commute which made a great gift for the Father’s day weekend. He is now going on three weeks back at work and he’s back to the barely no sleep schedule. He works so hard to keep us afloat. I got to share a day in life of this father, husband, caretaker with The Waiting List which was posted yesterday. Think it’s too long to add-on this post but check it out when you can along with other heroic stories. He is really a great example to my boys. It may not be perfect but it’s solid and that’s what matters most.
The best Father’s gift Daniel could ask for is to be with his siblings. This is what his immediate family looks like now. Daniel was a father figure to his siblings. It’s what I loved most about him and how he helped his mom. When I became apart of their household I learned quickly to function for each other. We spent our mornings getting his siblings ready for school, doing the girl’s hair and we all walked together to our schools. I was apart of an R.O.P. child development program and often volunteered in their classes. They were my practice too. Because we didn’t have much we had to hold on to what we had. That was each other. Our mom has engraved this in us all. Showing us an example that we will always carry on.
Another great milestone accured and I finally drove long distance for the first time. It has been a while and had a few incidents that makes it hard to trust myself. My sister made sure to rent a big enough car that fit us all. I will say it made for a comfortable drive. Even our furry babies got to enjoy the ride.
This has been my past month. Full of family time. I must stay committed in putting my health first. Hard when family has always come first. It’s that balance I continue to struggle with. However, what kind of wife, mom, sister, cousin, godmother, aunt, daughter, niece… can I be if I’m not well. A realization that is being more clear as my health continues to fail me. No matter what I’m still putting them first especially when I prioritize my health. We love our big families! Family is everything to us but can only be everything because God gives it to us. It’s what makes us strong as a family unit. I thank God everyday for my daily reminders what this life is all about.
After all it’s our birthright. We are born to fulfill our family’s destiny. Every generation can only get better as long as we are willing to learn from those who went before us. There is so many family stories I would love to share and I will continue share in my blog. Documenting life and sharing stories as time goes on. Thought taking you through these past weeks was a good introduction to our flesh and blood. We’re crazy, even dysfunctional but loyal as it gets. Yeah it’s true you can choose your friends but can’t choose your family. However, your family can make the best friends you can possibly have.
Thanks for hanging in for this long one. Hope you enjoyed getting to know my family,