A Message To My Adult Children


Look at you both, one about to graduate from college and the other getting ready to study abroad for a year.  You must be so proud of what you have accomplished thus far and pleased to see where your hard work has taken you.  It hasn’t always been easy but you have persevered thanks to your evolving maturity and strong values.

There is nothing more rewarding as a parent, than to watch your children thrive and become caring and happy adults.  This is what your father and I have always wanted for you and will continue to want in the years to come.

You have heard the same messages from both of us from a very young age.  Scatter kindness.  Be compassionate.  Empathize.  Help those in need. As annoying as those messages may seem,  as you continue to grow, I can only hope that they become second nature.

My message to you as you embrace the next stage of your young life, is to strive to become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.  You may reach your career goals and feel you are succeeding but as your mother I can tell you with certainty, that true success is measured by your  integrity and kindness towards others.  Nothing else comes even close.

Go out there, always remembering what is most important.  Treat others with respect, put yourself in others’ shoes, imagine what someone may be going through, give them the benefit of the doubt and think with your heart, always.  Success and happiness will follow when you truly love yourself and can share that love with those around you.

Be open-minded.  Embrace the differences in others.  Be flexible and willing to try new things even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.  Absorb the experiences fully because they all count in ultimately making you the person you will become.

Be proud of your heritage and your culture.  Don’t be afraid to share all parts of yourself to others.  Never feel shame for what you are or where you come from, instead, be the good example of your race and ethnicity to combat the unfair judgements and misunderstandings others have formed.  You have watched me embrace the pride in my culture and raise my head up high when discriminated against.  You are half Puerto Rican, it is a part of you, carry that part of you proudly through out your life.

Life is not fair.  Bad things will happen.  Things will not go as planned and life will be cruel at times.  You will hurt and feel undeserving of such struggles and wonder how you will survive them.  I can’t protect you from the obstacles you will face and may not be able to make them go away, but I will always be there to listen and most importantly, to model and illustrate the coping mechanisms I have learned throughout my life when dealing with adversity.

You have both observed me struggle with my health issues and have seen how I have been able to move forward, in spite of them.  You have watched me refuse to be a victim of my circumstances and steer you away from blaming others for your pain.

Your father has been the example of what having integrity looks like.  An honest, compassionate man who has sacrificed his needs for all of us.  Always willing to give of himself to make us happy all while demonstrating and balancing his extraordinary work ethic.  A man who never tires of doing for others in the community and who has made a significant impact on others’ lives.

My beautiful children,  I carry you both in my heart, always.  I wish you only the best as you face, head on, your new experiences.  I hope that there is always room in your hearts for your father and I and for the beliefs  we have instilled in you.    

No one else in this world loves you more. 






10 Parenting Failures I Am Willing To Admit To



Lucky for me, my kids have zero interest in reading my blog so I believe I am safe in writing about  some parenting failures I am willing to admit to.  It’s not as if they would be surprised, were they to stumble upon this post.  They are the ones that remind me of these failures all the time.  Why do they always remember the bad times?  What about the thousands of parenting successes?

Here are the 10 fails I would like to share:

1.  Dropping my infant in the front yard –

 In my defense, I tripped over the front step while holding her and heading outside.  If anyone had been filming me in slow motion mode, they would have seen my eyes bugging out of their sockets, my eyebrows raising up to my cranium, my mouth slowly opening while yelling, AHHHHHHHHHH, my arms flapping as I desperately tried to hold on to her and my legs twisting in some warped yoga-like pose as we hit the ground.  I.dropped.my.baby.

As it turned out, I cushioned her fall so much so that the EMTs could not find a scratch on her, whereas I ended up with a broken leg and having to attend her baptism the next day, on crutches.

2.  Forgetting about the tooth fairy –

I know I am not alone with this parental fail, except that it happened all the time!  Over and over again.  That lazy fairy always arrived at least two days late and I just kept making up excuses for her.   That she was blind and couldn’t find our house.  That she had been kidnapped by a very very bad man.  That one of her wings had fallen off…

3.  Leaving the two kids in the car –

I swear, it wasn’t a bad thing to do back then.  I would ask them if they wanted to go in to the store with me to grab milk or something we needed and when they said no, I allowed them to stay in the car together.  They would play games and have a good ‘ol time (at least that’s what they told me later).  It was usually a quick errand and I’d be back in the car in no time.  Never in 90 degree weather or during a frost.  Does that count for anything?

4.  Miscounting the Christmas gifts and having more for one child –

I thought I was so organized.  I had lists upon lists with all the items I had bought for the kids numbered and separated.  I even used different wrapping paper for each child.  I checked and double checked the night before to make sure I had equal amounts for both.  Yet there we were on many a’ Christmas mornings, listening to one of the kids cry because Santa had brought the other one more gifts.  They are 21 and 19 now and I still miscount.

5.  Taking the whole stranger-danger lesson too far –

In my honest attempt at preparing them for what to do and say when approached by a stranger, I scared the shit out of them and traumatized them for life.  Okay, so I would sit them down at the dinner table and go through scenarios and they had to tell me how they would handle that particular situation.  I thought it was a brilliant idea!  After having to calm them down night after night as they awoke terrified from their nightmares, I decided to stop these lessons altogether.

6.  Giving the kids food that had already expired –

I have since learned that those expiration dates don’t really mean anything, anyway.  You can add at least another week or two to those dates, you know.  However, my oldest started reading at a very early age and his little boy OCD would make him check the dates on everything before eating it.  He soon began to doubt my intentions and stopped trusting me.  To this day, he checks expiration dates and smells everything I serve him to make sure it’s still good.

7.  Cheering for the wrong swimmer during a swim meet –

They all look alike when they are in the pool, for crying out loud!  Same bathing suit, same color swim caps.  So during an important swimming event my daughter was swimming, I got my phone camera all set up to begin taping her.  The starting bell went off, all the girls dove into the pool and I was that crazy-like dance mom who cheers obnoxiously, screams, jumps up and down and records every second of the event. Once home, I couldn’t wait to show her the recording of her amazing swim.  That’s when she very loudly informed me that the girl I had recorded was not her.

8.  Getting caught throwing their art work away –

I did keep most of their art work and colorful crooked ceramic vases, but every once in a while I felt a need to simplify and make room for new art.  The problem was that we were and still are die-hard recyclers, so when I sent them out to the garage to play one Saturday morning, I had forgotten that the recycling bin was filled to the rim with…art.  Yea.  Many tears were shed.

9.  Acting like a junkie while holding a syringe and telling my kids to shut the f up –

My kids have grown up watching me take all kinds of medications for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, since they were very little.  On this particular morning, I was attempting to inject a new medication into my stomach for the very first time.  The kids were watching cartoons and arguing.  The arguing soon became full-fledged fighting with some hitting involved.  As I tried to steady the needle and aim it into my stomach, the fighting escalated.  As any other crazy mother would have done under these tense circumstances, I held the syringe up in the air and yelled, “Shut the F@*%^ up!!!!!!”  It’s Mother of the Year material, isn’t it?  I’ve had prouder moments.

10.  Letting my daughter drive home after getting her permit –

I thought I would be one of those cool and confident parents that tells her daughter that she can drive home (a 40 minute drive including highway) after having received her learner’s permit.  If I showed her how confident I was in her ability to take the wheel, she would take that confidence on and successfully drive home.  After almost hitting several pedestrians, white-knuckling the steering wheel while driving 10 miles per hour on the highway and miraculously not getting us both killed at a dangerous intersection, my little trouper got us home.  Mind you, she was crying hysterically when she got out of the car and would not drive again for another month.

*Oh yea, and I never took them to Disney World or got them a puppy!  Sigh

Do you have any parental fails to share?

Sometimes, The Apple Does Far From The Tree



They say that I am a replica of my mother.  The hair, the eyes, the face and the mannerisms.  Being that she is an amazing and beautiful woman, I take that as a compliment.

In turn, my children have a pleasing combination of my husband and I.  Big brown eyes, olive skin,  kindness in their hearts and a healthy dose of stubbornness and drive.  We love them both to pieces.

But it was after a phone call that I received from my twenty year-old laid back son that I thought to myself,  Who is this young man?  “Mom”, he said softly,  “I don’t want you to freak out but…I bought a shotgun.”


My son?  

My son has a gun?  

My little sweet guy owns his own gun?

I have to admit that although it was not a complete shock to hear this from him, an avid fisherman and outdoorsman who has been begging me to let him hunt since he was younger, the thought of him owning a gun raised the hairs along the nape of my neck to record highs.

After attempting to remain calm and pretending that I was not horrified, I asked him to tell me more about his purchase.  He bought it from a friend who is a hunter.  “Don’t worry mom, my roommate has a locked gun case for his shotguns so I can keep it there.”  

I knew that his very nice roommate was a hunter and that he stored his guns locked up in their apartment, but I had already tucked that knowledge away in the very rear of my brain, convincing myself that it was not so.  Now, my son had his gun to add to their growing collection.  

I am going to let you tell your father about your purchase when he calls you this evening- was the last thing I said to him before hanging up.

This fine young man of mine grew up in one of the most liberal towns in the country.  A wonderful place to grow up in but a town where everything is questioned and where political correctness is spewed out of its resident’s mouths ad nauseam.   A town where the word blacktop was banned and replaced with, pavement.  A happy valley  filled with distinguished “experts” on every topic and where democracy, is sometimes a curse.

My husband and I (well, my husband mostly) taught him to gently dispose of insects found in our home by placing them outside and setting them free.  We taught him to deal with conflict using words instead of violence.  We even discouraged him when he pretended to shoot us with his little hand.



Save the whales!

Free the birds!

Think globally, act locally!

War is not the answer!

Be Green!

Teach Peace!


These were the bumper stickers he grew up reading on the way to religious education on Sunday afternoons.

At nearly 21 years of age, in addition to being a hunter, he has decided to study law enforcement and become a police officer.   Really?  How did this happen?  Who does he take after?  Where did this come from?  

Although  I know that hunting, when all rules and  protocols are followed, is a safe sport and that many people grow up having guns in their homes, it will take me some time to get used to the idea that this will be a part of our lives.

 I cannot help but wonder,  how and when my wonderful son decided to become his own person.  Someone who follows his passions and interests regardless of what others say.  Someone who is confident in the person he has become and who does not feel the need to follow in anyone’s footsteps.  A hardworking, responsible and compassionate young man I could not be more proud of.

It is times like these that I am reminded that sometimes, the apple does fall far from the tree – but it is a good apple, nevertheless.




It Leaves Me With Just Me


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Have you ever had an aha moment that is immediately followed by a wave of deep sadness because it was during that aha moment, that you realized how bad things were going to be?

This is what happened to me today.  Out of nowhere, I gained wisdom about something I knew would be difficult, but the clarity of the situation really struck me.

This wave of sadness has taken over my body and mind.

What do we writers/bloggers do when we experience a deep emotion?  We write, of course.

It’s as if someone kicked me with all their force right in the gut.  I feel like a shriveled up deflated balloon that moments before, was filled with air, joy and happiness.

As many of you loyal readers know, I will have an empty nest this coming fall.  I have written about it on many occasions.  I talk about running around the house naked swearing like a sailor.  About having more time with Mr. Brickhouse and even on how we will save on electricity.  All in good fun.

Today however, I don’t see it that way.  Today, I truly understand the impact and meaning of this much-anticipated empty nest.  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Why didn’t I see it?  How stupid of me to think otherwise.  I was looking at an ideal life.  An imagined vision of me stepping right into this next stage in my life with open arms.  Blindly and naïvely envisioning a future when I could finally focus on myself, my goals, my health and my marriage.

And then it hit me.

I will be alone.


Stuck at home, by myself.

With no purpose to my every day.

No longer needed by anyone.

Just me and my thoughts.

Just me and my illness.

I already spend a lot of my days on my own.  I am usually too fatigued to be involved in multiple activities.  I see friends when they are not working, I try to walk, I blog, I watch tv and I mother.  Mothering has given me a purpose and an identity.

The fact is that Mr. Brickhouse has a very demanding job.  He is gone all day and most nights, at meetings. I know this.  I have known this.  I have accepted this.  But now, it saddens me to no end.  I cannot depend on him to be there.  It is not fair to expect him to fill my void.

My aha moment made me realize the reality of what awaits me.

What will I do?

What plans do I have?

What are my goals?

What is my purpose?

The fact that I cannot hold a job due to my illness has bothered me in the past but I knew deep down that the most important job I could do, was being the best mother I could be, despite my physical limitations.

Now what?

Wake up. Rest. Wait until my body is not stiff.  Eat breakfast. Rest. Run an errand.  Rest.  Blog. Rest.  Pay bills. Rest.  Go for a walk. Rest. Eat dinner on my own. Rest. Blog. Sleep. Repeat.

This will be my life.

My new reality.

It scares me to death.

It leaves me vulnerable with thoughts I have repressed for way too long.

It leaves me with just me.



I will allow these feelings to simmer for a day or two because they need to.  

They are real.  

They are valid.

And in the end:

This too shall pass

Mirror Mirror On The Wall…OMG, I’ve Become My Mother After All!


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10 Things That Make Me, My Mother

(which is not a bad thing)

1.  I always have lipstick on, even if I am not going anywhere

2.  I turn everything into a song, ie. “This egg is beautiful…to me, can’t you see”.

3.  I live in batas (bathrobes) – with lipstick on, of course

4.  My upper arms jiggle (sorry, Mom)



5. I love to spoil my kids

6.  I am a badass entertainer and can make even a white paper plate look beautifully set, on a table.

7.  I hum all day long (when I’m not singing)

8.  I too can’t wait for my daughter to have a daughter…revenge…

9.  I let my man think he’s in charge, but I am the NECK that controls his HEAD.

My Big Fat Greek Weddind

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

10.  I take life, ONE DAY AT A TIME (used to hate hearing that)


There are many of her wonderful qualities I do not possess and that is ok, because there is only room on this earth for one amazing woman.  And that is her.

Feliz Dia De Las Madres, Mami!

Comes Home A Young Man


He is born one month early, a bit underweight.  His eyes are wide open, his apgar score an 8.

A content precious infant,  sleeping away.  Cries only heard when he needs us, smiles and giggles most every day.

Belly is filled with oodles of love, legs try to bounce and hop.  Curiosity takes over his hungry mind, questions bombarding non stop.

Wants to be just like his daddy, but adores his mom just the same.  School is a new adventure as he starts to “play the game”.

Bathroom words are hilarious, he can’t stop reciting them at bay.  As parents we try to be serious but laugh because, what can we say?

Balls, swords and bikes are a plenty, as he figures it out on his own.  Soon the pimples start showing and maybe even a broken bone.

Deodorant is a blessing in a house that is quite small, dirty socks on the table, underwear in the hall.

Car keys go missing and worries increase, he prefers his friends now and tries hard to please.

Twelve years of school soon come to an end.  Who is this young boy graduating, wasn’t he just ten?

The time has now come, to leave the cozy nest.  College is upon him and all of the rest.  He leaves apprehensive, anticipation is high.  He loves his family but it is time to say goodbye.

His parents and sister mourn his sweet presence, dinners are quieter, dirty socks missing.   He appreciates his family and becomes their biggest fan.

He leaves as a teen and comes home a young man.