During this time of year, I can't help but think that I should make resolutions. Something that inches me toward who I want to be. I know I need a list, I know I should assess my life, and then, there are the goals we are to have. The GOALS Oprah tells us we need so that we spend January feeling like we have to improve every part of our lives. "What? No goals? How will you ever get somewhere?"
It hit me the other night while I tried to sleep, thinking of how my life is flying by and I want to yank the reins and switch the path to a less careening course. In moments that are clear, I say it, I don't need to resolve anything. I've spent what feels like my entire life trying to re-do myself. I'm weary of it all except for the one that fuels me: the want for things to be different for me and my family. But the *resolutions* part like I'm in bad shape about things? Nope. I'm not having it. What I'm going to do is look for solutions.
A solution that will help me fill in the parts of my life that have been neglectfully left to chance. I sorrowfully confess, that this part, is about that which is worth gold to me: my children, my family. I take advantage of their gentle nature and slap together the mothering and spousing aspects of my day in the ugliest knee-jerk style. Time is running through my hands, and my children need to know what they mean to me and why. I want them to know about the me that loves them.
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They know so little about me.
My children know me as their mother, yes, I have been with them more than any other person they know. And though they have seen me daily for thousands of days, I remain two dimensional to them.
I'm the one who hasn't fleshed myself out to them. In between breakfasts and lunches packed, laundry pulled out of the dryer to be folded, and barely below speed limit runs to activities, life and face time has been done in snatches. And though we always meant to, or I meant to, one day catch up – the number of opportunities to soak each other in is on the short side of the hourglass now.
A resolution can't cover a solution. My solution is to help them see me, through different eyes than those that once looked up from a time when I was so much taller then they were. I won't just speak to them in words, but through something with power, the kind that moves faster than words can. Music, the music I grew up hearing.
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I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household. My mother and grandmother played the records they brought with them to America from Colombia every weekend during the day and into the night. I colored and cut out paper dolls while Lucho Gatica or Lupita Palomera played in the middle of it all.
This music of guitars that danced one pluck at a time, with one voice jumping on the back of the notes, always made me feel at peace. Time stood still on the days when these records played. When I would be away at school, or at a friend’s house, I always felt as if I were tip-toeing around someone else’s culture. But when I got back to my house, and opened the front door to this music playing, I was home.
I want my children to hear and feel this same tethering, to know what it was like for me when these sounds filled my house. I want them to hear some of this music, to start. And later, more of this music. I want to bring this part of me into their lives.
I played a CD in the car of Lucho Gatica, a singer I grew up listening to. The reaction of my children, well – I worried that they might politely hurry it through, "How much longer do we have to listen, mom?"
But the one song I played, they liked it. Not for long, they told me, "Nice. But one is plenty," but when it was done, they liked it.
My middle boy said, "I can see you being little, and dancing to it, mom.” They say it makes them feel good, and when I hear this, my imagination runs wild and I want to shout out the car window and beep my horn, crying, “DNA! It's the DNA of mine that they carry!”
They are part of this music. They always have been in it, the thread of songs that my grandmother played for my mother that my mother then played for us, that I now play for my children.
I don't want to resolve to strengthen the chain of my family's heritage. I want to solve, softly, my fear of losing who my children are while they're from America.
I want my children to understand my want, when I ask, “Do you feel this music? Do you know what I hope for, when you hear this?”
I want them to hear the guitar strumming melodies, the lone voice, and find themselves as I did, home.