Meet my children! Alexis the only girl, Travis in the middle is her husband, and Justin the youngest, but tallest by far. They hate Mother’s Day, my birthday, Christmas or any occasion which might require buying me a gift because they always tell me “I am so hard to buy for.” There may be some truth to that not because I want lavish gifts, but because my language of love is not gifts you can buy, but affirmation, and quality time with you. With that in mind, I gave them an assignment ahead of time for Mother’s Day since I will be in Italy then, and I didn’t want to totally let them off the hook, of writing for me 10 things they love, laugh at, or think I needed to know about me. Below is a summary of their feedback.
Alexis my dear sweet baby girl of almost 27 prefers to call me mommy. She is a “mini me” in so many ways despite the dark hair, olive complexion and the small stature of 5’2” and 115 lbs. dripping wet. She may look like her Cuban dad but she is a little dynamo of “Abbyness” as even her brother Justin wrote we are the two most anxious people he has ever known. We are extremely competitive, love to cook, and according to Travis she is even starting to sound like me telling her new puppy Yadi if he didn’t start behaving “She would have to put him on a Chinese menu!” What she expressed as the top ten reasons she loved me (in no particular order she stressed) were my work ethic, all that I had sacrificed for them, my sense of humor, my sense of style, my generosity, the fact that I will never let her win so when she does, she earns it rightfully, my entrepreneurial spirit, and love of family. She was also quick to point out that I taught her the joy of cooking especially since she holds the record for the #1Cuban Pork in the Country according to a very small group of biased judges.
She also was quick to point out the “mom-isms” that are legendary within our tight little group. Currently, there are only three or four but as my memory starts to fade you can bet there will be more. Let me give you a sample. On Lexi’s first trip to Italy with us, she and I traveled all night, were picked up at the airport by a driver and swiftly taken on an insider, 3hr tour of the Vatican, launched many courses with clients, before we were finally taken to the hotel for rest before more eating. To say we were a bit delirious by that time would be an understatement. She being the quick study though picked up at lunch that after someone said Grazie which is thank you, the response was Prego or you're welcome. So after getting unpacked and ready for a nap she handed me something, I said Grazie, she said Prego, and I responded very confidently “Ragu!” I can’t ever remember laughing so stinking hard and it’s making me laugh even as I type it now. Same trip, delirious after coming back, but anxious to get some art we purchased framed, we went to Michael's with our artwork. The clerk said all frames were 50% off and out of the mouth of mom comes “ You must have son a told” instead of” sold a ton at that price.” Need I say more!
Justin the 6’ 1” 220 baby of the family prefers to call me Momma. He is our only Jacksonville native and considers himself a Southern boy and that’s just what they do. He looks more like my Polish side of the family with my dad, my brothers, and maybe even one sister all over 6” and a bit heartier stock. He and his sister consider themselves to be of “Cubish” origin. Justin also likes to cook and was my sous chef after Lexi went off and left us to get married. I think Justin is most like me in his heart. His list of why he loves me included that I surprise him daily, I’m always happy to see him even if he has only been gone an hour. He also admires my hard work and my incredible cooking skills. The relationship I share with my husband Juan his dad hasn’t escaped him either as he states that “it shows him what he needs to look for in his life.” He ended his note saying he recognizes that I love him more than any person on this earth and that will never change. “Even when he’s 80 he’ll always be my baby.” He also added one more “mom-ism.”
After my mom passed away we decided to reinvent Christmas and rather than have gifts we would make memories. That first year we went to Charleston on Christmas Day. We had breakfast at home, lunch at Waffle House off I-95 and by the time we got to Charleston it was dark and Christmas night, so not too many places were open. When we found a restaurant open I exclaimed “there’s one let’s go to Socia’s,” it was really named Social. Once we got in, sat down and ordered our meal we were served a flatbread pizza type thing that was sprinkled with what looked like feta cheese…. It wasn’t! It was goat cheese which I hate, and therefore upon eating some I uttered “someone needs to leave that goat alone!”
Travis my dear son-in-law didn’t really get to pick his name for me. Right after he and Lexi got married we were standing outside the service when he asked me “What shall I call you now?” I promptly responded by putting my hand out to be kissed and told him “Queen Mum would do.” The fact that the photographer caught that once in a lifetime photo-op is priceless to me. His well thought out list included cooking skills second only to his wife, that I let my children be who they are, courage to follow my dreams, and the resiliency to make them come true. He also likes my competitiveness, especially as the Trivia Queen, my relationship with my husband, and the greatest admiration came for our parenting skills that gave him Alexis our only daughter, who is successful, well balanced, competitive, beautiful on the inside and out, and greatest joy daily!
Future Grandchildren “Mee-Maw” I DON’T THINK SO!! That’s a threat my children are making but I assure you, anyone, thinking about calling me Mee-Maw will be left out of the will!
Now isn’t this feedback better than a bottle of Elizabeth Arden “Red Door?”