February 4th, 2007
My title ".....life, how did I get here?" evolved mostly from my ever changing life. It seems to me, in all of my 44 years, that I am always grasping at the complexity or simplicity of my own life. Starting with my own birth at home in Puerto Rico, where my mother (age 45 at the time) went into labor rather quickly with no opportunity to get to the nearest hospital ( which really in those days was probably 3 hours away). As the story would have it, or as my brother likes to tell it, my mother gave birth to me at home with the help of a midwife, who my brother states jokingly, "had put a few away" prior to coming to help my mother with my new life. So there goes my beginning, brought into this world by a half drunk woman into the very home where my maternal grandmother had passed away. A home made of stone with a tin roof - which made the most wonderful music to my ears when it rained. A very humble bare home where my mother found love, hope and a new beginning with my father.
My parents moved to New Jersey when I was 4 as was typical of many latino's back then seeking a better life and work. We lived with my aunts, uncles and cousins so that my father could save money. By the time I turned 5 my father had met someone much younger than my mother and left. I need to say on my fathers behalf that my mother and he had been together many years before I was born and that my mother was 20 years his senior. My mother, sister and I then moved to the Bronx where some of my older half siblings lived.
For those of us who come from the Bronx, especially in the 60's and 70's, we can say that it was a great and adventurous time. My mother worked and struggled - always. Life was hard, but let me tell you, it was fun. Looking back at my youth I have no regrets, well maybe a few (like when I hid a boy in the closet and my mother almost had a heart attack when she bumped into his leg.....ooops). I have been incredibly blessed even when times were challenging and difficult. My mother just celebrated her 90th birthday and is in good health. She is funny, smart and insightful. Having my mother is an extraordinary gift. She has seen so much changes in our world - through technology, the environment, politics and in the lessons that she has learned via her own life and that of her children. She is my inspiration to continue seeking, learning and being hopeful.