On being a daughter, of a great mother.
I called my childhood phone number, the phone number I have KNOWN all my life, and my dad picked up.
“Happy Mother’s Day, Catia.”
“Oh, yes. Thank you.”
“What? Is that weird?”
“I just didn’t expect it.”
I still think of myself as a daughter.
I am David and Nellie’s daughter.
Of course, I am a mother. Of course. But a big part of me and hopefully a forever part of me identifies as Catia Hernandez, from Weslaco, Texas – you know, David and Nellie’s daughter.
I asked to speak to my mom, but she wasn’t at home. She was on the road, picking her up mom, my Abuelita to bring her back for Mother’s Day Brunch. She still identifies as a daughter too.
I called back a few hours later.
My Dad picked up the phone.
“Nellie, it’s Catia.”
“Hi, precious.” My mom has referred to me as precious my whole life. And Celeste when she’s clenching her teeth in frustration.
“Happy Mother’s Day,” I said in between cries, my chest filling up with shallow puffs of air.
“I miss you, too,” she said.
“I miss you, mom.”
“We’ll see each other in June.”
I cried and held back my tears trying to have a decent conversation. But it was pretty much small talk.
And then she passed the phone to my Abuelita, Welita. And I started crying all over again.
“Feliz dia de las Madres, la amo.”
She told me (in Spanish) to close my eyes and feel her hugging me. “Feel my big hug full of love.” She kept repeating it over and over.
She began to weep and then passed the phone back to my mom.
We told each other we loved each other, hung up and I exploded in tears.
I just spent the last 6 weeks living in parents home (with my two girls in tow), and it was glorious. (We are currently living in Central America but traveled to the US to get some quality time together.) Seeing them every day – coffee, wine, tacos, talking politics, brain science – playing with Luciana and Alexandra outside on the swing. Normal things.
No galas, no fancy dinners, no big show stopping moments – and all the most special. Hellos, Goodbyes, have a great days, I love yous.
Not a lot of people get the chance to spend so much leisure time with their parents, nor would they want to! But I have both – time and a good relationship – and for that I am so grateful.
It’s not so much that I missed my mom yesterday (Mother’s Day), it’s that I know how important she is. How very sweet this season of our life is, where I see her in all her gifts and glory. No longer am I the bratty kid who thinks she’s knows more than her mom, I sit at her feet and watch and learn in awe of how hard she has worked and how well she raised us. Raising kids who feel well loved are all well loved is the way we change the world. And she has.
I cried because I know there aren’t that many more Mother’s Days we will celebrate. I know enough to know that life ends. And man, I’m going to do all I can to soak up every moment with my mom and show her (albeit awkward at times) how much I value her, admire her and appreciate her.
I cried because I know my Welita did the same for my mom.
This is how long we have been connected.
We’ve been connected since my mom was conceived.
For 60+ years, the three of us have been together. And so it goes for my mom, me and Alexandra and Luciana. Spectacular.
I am writing a book now, for my girls – a book of letters detailing who they are, where they came from, what will happen when Mama and Papa leave this earth. A book seeped in so much love. Something they can hold in their hands and know they were loved and have answers to questions about just who was their mom? My hope is that these letters spark conversations everywhere between mothers and daughters. That they may love each other lavishly and cherish the moments they have with one another.
Mom, I am lucky to be yours.
I'm Catia, a woman, wife, mama, sister, sister friend, you know -- I wear a million hats just like you.
One of my biggest whys is that I want people to feel good about ALL of who they are. Including you.
If I could choose ten words that best describe me I would say: honest, welcoming, giving, curious, loving, earnest, empathetic, spiritual, playful, and sassy. Let's add: adventurous. That's 11.
Nice to meet you!