Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for Family


Last night I traveled with my sister and mom up to Gaylord to visit my grandmother for what is probably the last time. There are a lot of things inside me I could talk about here, but I find goodbyes of all sorts to be the most painfully intimate moments of life. I hope any family or friends who read this know that I’m not skipping over these moments, but holding them close.

On the drive up, I experienced one of those indelible life moments, the kind that you know with clarity, at that second, will never leave. Even if they are the smallest, even if there’s nothing you could point to later and say, “There, that was it. That is the reason this stayed with me.” Certainly, here, the circumstance surrounding it plays a part in why this will always persist.

But what’s funny is that years from now I know that what I’ll remember most from these days, and weeks, and the transition we’re all going through, won’t be the goodbye. It will be a clear, cold night — the moment between sundown and spilled ink dark, when the sky retains something of a purple light — on I-75, Hozier in the background and a beautiful, blinding moon through the passenger window in a car carrying three women who have loved and argued, misunderstood, maybe mistrusted, experienced very real heartbreak, but loved, and loved, and loved each other.

Perhaps when everything else from this week fades away, years from now, I’ll remember my mother’s words — that she’s the one person left who has known her mother longest — and think of the ways in which our lives tie together. It’s not all pretty woven tapestries. But maybe in the knots, in the tangles you work and work to untangle — even when you have to put them down and walk away because you know you’ll break something otherwise — the last thing we’ll have is knowing that we made these lives. These connections. And if we’re really lucky, despite it all, kept them.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love the holidays. It isn’t a secret. I love the family get togethers, the decorations and good food. I love the snow and the joy in the air, Christmas music and searching for the perfect present to give to someone I love.  Every year on my birthday, I break out the boxes from the “Christmas Closet” and decorate the house, put up the tree. Christmas music starts playing in November, and I love all sorts of Christmas and spice scented candles burning.

Everyone who is a Christmaphile (yeah I made that up), has a go to Christmas CD that they love above all others- and I am no exception. I remember as a kid, my mom putting on Amy Grant’s “Home for Christmas”, every year without fail. Our house was a showcase come Christmas, full of homemade wreaths and garlands, and the smells of my mothers amazing baking filling the house.  As a teenager, I experienced plenty of tumult and unhappiness at home, but for some reason, Christmas was inexplicably a magical time. A pause in the normal routine of our lives. I always, always, remember Christmas as a happy and peaceful time. My mom and I worked on making decorations together, and the house was full of music.

Growing up, there were plenty of things I wanted, but more than anything, I wanted a family. A big extended family, grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles. Growing up overseas, it was always just the four of us. Even when we moved to the States, things were different, and we had no family close by enough for the sort of family gatherings I always longed for.  I love my husband, so much- I often joke that I love him just for his family (it  isn’t true, although it was an awesome package to get with an already wonderful man). Marriage is a gift in so many ways, and I have been so blessed to be gifted with an amazing family, new sisters and brothers, grandparents and parents to love. After my father passed, and Tio John and Abuela, I felt very alone. For so long it was the four of us- Pilar, Mom, Dad, and I. Losing a part of that- it broke everything apart.

But now, I have old family and new. And best of all, my new family. Children to love and a husband to cherish. And, traditions to continue. I want my kids to grow up remembering Christmas, the smells and songs, and feel happy, content. To think of that special breakfast Mom always made on Christmas morning, or the pinecone wreath she hung every year, despite the fact that it kept on losing pine cones, because she remembered making it with her Mother one Christmas.