I am a Traditional Wife

I am still reacting to a podcast I listened to recently. I was one of the targeted women he spoke about; traditional wives. He said that it was considered by some, a “dangerous trend” “Trad wivesDe repente it’s becoming popular? This dialogue pulled up that long squished question which I sometimes still struggle with in my life, “What do you do Rosie?” My answer? “Well, I’m, ummm, I’m a homemaker” (a nervous laugh usually followed) “I take care of Ben and the kids” and the response was “Oh, ummm, well that’s good…” From there, I would descend into looking for and sharing things that they might consider “worthy” Hijole! More than 3 decades have passed and the question can still rankle me. Y porque sera?

Those long repressed feelings of vergüenza rose up to laugh at me. I went to college but never got my degree. Wanting accreditation is one of my biggest hurdles, asi es, pay attention, see what I’ve done! And what have I “done?” I’ve been a  traditional wife, a woman who takes care of the affairs of her home and watches over the needs of her children. I’ve been doing this now  for 34 years of my life. Where are my degrees? Where’s my accumulated wealth? It has definitely kept me humble. 

I respect a woman who has worked hard, been disciplined and focused and completes her educational goals, I may even be a little celosa. Jealous, because it’s something I didn’t do. Heavy sigh… but also, Shout out to that woman who puts away that degree for her family. 

My story falls somewhere in the crevices of those scenarios. I am a Christian woman. Jesus is the love and Lord of my life. Every crossroads I come to in my life, He has been with me. At 19, when I chose to drop out of school midway through my 2nd year of university, it was hard. My apa was disappointed. I was so sorry, I yearned for his approval, I was supposed to be a lawyer he could be proud of, but instead I let him down. My future looked bleak to me. How in the world would I survive? God helped me. As I was moving on, young and hopeful with my whole life ahead of me, I came to another crossroads of life, Marriage. It wasn’t in my plans, well at least not until I was old. God was with me and I made the right choice to marry my Benjamin. Very soon after that I was the mother of his children. I couldn’t decide on how to describe this last bit of my history. Doesn’t it sound a bit dramatico? “The mother of his children” y pues, I am, they are his, and it pleases me to say it, declare it on the roof tops of my blog and to anyone that will hear me tell of my life as a traditional wife.

I wish I could sit here at my desk and tell you how glorious it always was. It wasn’t. I wanted financial independence, it humbled me so much to depend completely on my Benjamin, but I knew it was what he needed and what I needed and then what our kids needed. I wish I could tell you that living on a tight budget was “no big deal” Hijole! It was, and it was harder still when our kids were growing up and seeing what other kids wore and did. It was hard to tell them, “no we can’t do that this week” I wasn’t purposely boycotting McDonalds, es que, it made more sense to serve lunch at home, picnics with homemade food were a must. There were plenty of mistakes we made and many things we left out of our lives, to a certain degree I wish I would have always had the financial liberty to buy our kids those name brands and fun things. Living on one income kept the door open for me to take care of our children. It was a sacrifice for all of us. In fact, I actually went out into the workforce on a few occasions to alleviate the financial burden. Pero, making more money never really helped. I spent more money, the house was neglected, I worried constantly, wondering if the babysitter would take care of mis hijos like I would. The kids missed me and worst of all it separated me from my beloved y no crees, the whole family could feel that shift in our home.

Being home put me into a good watchful position. A place where I could see my children when the possible dangers, the bad choices and the hurting moments arrived. Gracias a Dios for this position, how did I use it? I prayed, it was a burden I couldn’t carry alone or at all sometimes. There were times I intervened, when my child was in danger physically, verbally, emotionally and mentally. There were times that I had to let them work out their dilemma and definitely their salvation, I couldn’t force my faith on them, as much I wanted to. I didn’t catch everything, I’m shocked at the things my kids uncover now and I wonder how it passed by me?! and por supuesto there were things that I didn’t handle perfectly or even correctly. Many mothers suffer from condemnation,” if only I would have done…” I have fallen into that pit plenty of times, gracias a Dios that he pulls me out everytime. Sabes que? The children are gone now, but not too far away. I’m still a traditional wife, very dependent on my Cold Blooded Englishman. I’m still taking care of my Benjamin,and when I miss the opportunity to serve him, I feel ripped off. 

Daniella suggested that I write a nice job description of a tradwife? I don’t know if I could. It’s hard work, long hours, it’s messy most of the time and very few breaks. Why in the world did I do it?  I tried to say “because I wanted to” pero honestamente, when I was young I always thought and said I don’t ever “just” want to be a wife and mother; a homemaker, like mi ama

Pero pues the woman, the nurturer that I was created to be, rose to the occasion when that life choice presented itself and God made a way. I’ve experienced the benefits of love, peace and joy as we have worked on our marriage relationship. I feel such pleasure to see our children grow into good people in the community, happy to give back. I have felt incredible relief as I watch them still putting their faith in Christ, like we taught them at home. I hold on to a treasure of cards my children have given me over the years, telling me how grateful they are that I have been their mother. And what can I say about being able to maintain my home and receive my growing family, gracias a Dios, may I never forget all His benefits.

En Conclusíon

One dilemma I always faced was answering the question “Rosie what do you do?”  and sometimes it made me wonder. What do I do? Pero, mira nomas, now when people ask me “What do you do?” I’ll have the trendy right answer.

How To Talk With To Your Husband

I was entertained by my grandsons this week and in between smirks and laughter, without their knowledge of course, I was reminded of the age old dilemma of communication with the opposite sex. I write through the lens of my own experiences, married to a quiet man, a very quiet man and raising three boys. Y pues, of course like a true woman I talk to other ladies, who are also looking for ways to fix them, I mean the problem of communication. Por supuesto que there are the rare occasions  where in a relationship a man is a talker and the woman could be, but she’s not quick enough to get her words out.  

Asi es, for a long time it has been discovered, or maybe uncovered? Girls love to talk and want to be heard, by anyone, by everyone, pero, especially by their husband or honey. Ves, it’s so important it’s got to come out now! Meanwhile boys don’t want to talk, but they will if the topic is in their radar. Otherwise, they would prefer not to hear us, because when they do, they are confused!  “What is she talking about?” Or in the doghouse, “What did I do?”

 Por supuesto, in a good womanly fashion, I must tell you some back story before I share my “Conversations with the opposite sex” stories.

I think that the empty nest changes have provoked Ben and I to work on “us” more intimately. Like in, working really hard at better communication. Imaginate, my cold blooded Englishman is digging deep, maybe even borrowing words from others to have a conversation with me. Meanwhile I’m exercising much self control to not say too much, or worse! Say nothing at all and still communicate my love and peace with him. Hijole! Ya se, ya se, you would think that after 34 years of marriage we would be “coaching” others verdad? I can report that God is patient and longsuffering even when we’re not. He isa great coach for us, when we let him, he directs us from his word and through easily accessible resources.

One of the places I’ve gleaned from is a recent podcast called Real Relationship Talk. After listening to Dana Che I realized that we just didn’t communicate at all, but now I realize that we were! It was just not good communication. She puts both sides of an issue on the table, raw and real conversations that have helped us. As Empty Nesters were starting from the beginning, getting on the same page😉.

Without further ado, here’s a clip of some of my conversations :

Rosie: Man! I didn’t take my walk this morning, I have to make sure I do it tomorrow morning.

Ben:   If you can wait for me, I’ll walk with you tomorrow”

Rosie: Oh, ok.  (But in my mind I had mixed emotions since my morning walks are my “hashing     out my issues” in conversation with God, now I had to talk to Ben. Duh! Isn’t this what I want, time with Ben? 

The next morning…

Rosie: Are you ready?

Ben: Yup, just let me get my tennis shoes on.

We stepped outside and the silence wasn’t acceptable so I started talking.

Rosie: Maybe we can listen to a conference sermon?

Ben:  Oh, ok. (regarding the neighbors yard) I don’t care for this yard, rocks instead of grass. 

A few steps of quiet, oh oh.

Rosie: (I pull out my phone) Let me find that sermon.

Ben: I don’t think it’s gonna rain after all.

Rosie: I don’t know, it looks like it might. (I hold off on the sermon)

A few more seconds of empty space. Ok, I’ll talk then. 

Rosie: It’s going to be…

Ben: (regarding another yard)  I don’t like this ivy, I prefer grass, just nice green grass.

Rosie: (In my mind- Maybe I’ll not play the sermon, maybe he’s gonna want to talk)  Yes, I think green…

Ben: See it gets brown and messy.  (regarding someone’s boat) I don’t like those kinds of boats.

Rosie: (looking over at the big speed boat-aren’t they all the same?) Really, why?

Ben: they’re just power boats, no place to sit, they’re just for speed.

I had no response and I worried the conversation attempt would die.

Rosie: I wonder How Joe’s doing?

Ben: I liked  my dad’s boat, it had character. 

Rosie: oh (in my mind- he doesn’t need me to hold a conversation)

All of a sudden, I had nothing to say and I was walking faster. The warnings blared as he glanced over at me and the words escaped Ben as he tried to figure out what happened.

Later that morning I was watching my grandson Judah. Judah was happy to read a book. Then I also had a couple of little girls from church to babysit. When they arrived Judah kept on reading. They immediately wanted to play with him, he wasn’t interested, nor was he listening as they jabbered away. Then he snuck out to the backyard, but the girls were quick to get their shoes and go outside too. A short while later I went outside to check on them.

Judah was standing there just staring at them.

Ama: What’s going on out here? Is everyone behaving?

Judah: Yes, but I don’t understand what they’re saying.

Belen: My name is Belen, b. e. l. e. n.

Judah stared at her confused.

Ama: What are you saying Belen?

Belen: His name is Judah. My name is Belen, b.e.l.e.n. (all that was said as she multitasked, climbing in and out of the toy car)

Judah stared at her blankly. 

Ama: Alveena? (the toddler was also jabbering away)  What are you saying? Judah, can you tell me what she’s saying?

Judah: No, I do not know what she’s saying.

And as she ran across the yard she screeched

Alveena: I chay it! 

Belen: cheese, cheese cheese

Ama: Oh my gosh

Judah was immersed in their words and not knowing what to do he decided it was best to ignore them.

I had a good laugh, poor Judah, he would never understand them, or any woman for that matter. De repente, it hit me! Ben and I had just had that very same experience! Lack of understanding or misunderstanding. He thought I wanted words from him, it is what I have said to him. Pero, doesn’t he understand that what I really want is time well spent with him, communicating in silence is doable, I’ve had to learn things when I step into his quiet space, pero, I also want and need meaningful conversation. What I didn’t see was that Ben was really trying, he was using topics he was comfortable in. Ok, scrap that attempt, let’s try again.

Luego, the next evening,  on another round of abuela watch, I loaded up the van with the other  grandchildren. We were off to keep Thomas busy at his job at the city recreation center. 

During the drive, I was reminded of how straight forward men talk, no backstory and minimal description. Fijate.

11 month old Uriah: Da Da Da Da Da Da

3 year old Jeremiah: D’mamybabybrotherdays

Uriah: Da Da Da

Jeremiah: D’maD’ma

Ama: Yes Jeremiah?

Uriah: Da Da Da

Jeremiah: D’maD’ma

Ama: Yes Jeremiah

Jeremiah: mybabybruderdays…mybabybruderdays…hedayshelovesyou

Ama: Jeremiah I don’t understand you. Say it again, slower (I listened with a sharp ear)

Jeremiah: Riah days he loves you D’ma!.

Ama: Really?

Jeremiah: Des

Uriah: Da Da Da

Ama: Awe Uriah, thank you, I love you too.

Jeremiah: wecum

En conclusion:

Some couples flow in their ability to communicate so easily. Well, at least that’s what it looks like from the outside looking in. I’m encouraged, God has been with us for thirty-four years and as empty nesters we are relearning and learning new ways (new to us at least) of communication  con la ayuda de Dios, because God has always helped us, I’ll learn and respect “Benese” and he’ll learn and navigate through “Rosiese” 

God Bless you all in your communication growth 🙃

My Greene Side

Ben and I enjoyed a beautiful 2nd weekend of our 34th year of marriage. I won’t talk about the weekend before, except to say that rewinds, redos, they are needed at times, advice from a wise new 30 year old, I’m glad we took her suggestion.

So while we had a quiet lunch, acuerdense, with my flaco, it usually is quiet, unless I’m spilling out my many words. I was hunkering down to really rest while I listened to a Nicolas Sparks audiobook. Then Ben did it, he threw me off with spontaneity! He calculated the afternoon time and figured we could have a nice walk at Coronado Island and then come home for his Sunday afternoon nap. Sorry to be so non romantic here, Pero, I too calculated my winnings, time spent with my Cold Blooded Englishman or a novela? Hard cold calculations didn’t stop us, so off we went to Coronado.

Crossing the Coronado bridge is a beautiful sight: the boats on the bay, the ocean water, and sunbathing on the sand, it is what San Diego thrives on. Bien bonito! It felt good to be out with Ben, just because. Then, with the boats on his radar, my flaco began to share his memories and I peeked into his childhood again. Hijole! His memories always floor me, because what he experienced with his family  is so completely foriegn to me, deveras que, I get a little, no! MUY uncomfortable at the reminder of how different the worlds we came from are. I’m thinking of the famous Mexican singer/actor Pedro Infante. One of his movies is called “Nosotros Los Pobres.” “We The Poor.” I’ll have to sit down and watch it with my sis again, he was a favorite of my ama and our unreachable heart throb. 

 I have joked with Ben about his rich upbringing, and he laughs, because he says they weren’t rich, they were just middle class. Pero fijense, with very little prompting as we walked hand in hand, Ben remembered his childhood summer vacations.  My brain was working hard to grasp what he described, and it kept coming to a blank wall. His family drove to the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island where they chartered a boat and sailed from one island to another. “What did you do?” Ben was puzzled at my question, well, they enjoyed the ocean air, fishing, visiting the different islands, pero, my California mind couldn’t imagine such quiet repose as enjoyment. In the end he had to show me on google maps and images what he enjoyed.

Ben’s father, whom I didn’t get the chance to meet, was an architect. He designed the house Ben and his brothers grew up in. It was designed in Mid Century style, and Nancy, mi suegra decorated her house beautifully with her artistic flair. The first time I went there I was nervous, it felt a little bit like I was walking through a museum. Mid century modern furniture and real painting on the walls and expensive pottery, everything individual yet it all tied together nicely. The predominant trait was the huge glass windows from ceiling to floor all around the house. The windows all around the house intimidated me. Anyone could look right into the house. Even though you could see the beautiful scenery outdoors, I wondered what I was going to do when I had to use the bathroom, not to mention a shower. Pero, gracias a Dios that Ben taught me the trick of steaming up the large bathroom windows first, hijole!

This style of houses were “trending” in those days and Bens apa Walter Farrar Greene aka “Skip” had connections with other architects, thus he was able to acquire the use of the well known Glass House in Martha’s Vineyard for their family vacations! And he says they weren’t rich?! He’s quick to humbly correct my assumptions by telling me that his dad knew the brother of the architect, and I say “Ok, vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Island.” True vacations, where they rested, enjoyed good books, took in the nature of the island and of course went spent time on the boat. Maybe the only “unrest” that my suegra experienced was her three little boys nagging her to take them to the beach again. When I go over to Ben’s world in New England and we vacation, my Southern California spirit yearns for action and activity after three days of rest! The quietness gets too noisy for me. A la otra, on our next vacation I’ll have to have Ben take me to one of those Islands he visited. 

It was bien nice hanging out with my flaco on our own San Diego Island in Coronado last weekend. We walked and he talked, asi es, my man of few words, shared them with me. Luego, I danced with Elvis. 

En conclusion, 

Again I’m amazed that after 34 years of incompatibility and our different worlds God has blessed our journey and carried us through the very difficult terrain. Gracias a Dios, that he is always with us.

The First Year of Marriage

Two Weddings

Con tanto alboroto about the “weddings” I keep thinking about me and my early days with my flaco. Asi es, weddings, we did it again, my familia is all about showing and telling. We were crazy enough to mas o menos duplicate Ben & Mo’s wedding and share that special day here in San Diego with our loved ones. The week was crazy busy and the reception was beautiful and sweet. I said to someone “I thought wedding bloopers only happened on the wedding day?” Pero, like I said we mimicked the full experience. And now that’s it, we really are done. The newest Mr. and Mrs. Greene have faced the stark naked reality of life and are on the highway of marriage bliss.

Meanwhile, I’ve been left to my musings, remembering our own first year of marriage.  

Baby Fever

Young and in love that’s what we were. I knew that together we would impact the world, and we have…I’m sure of it, somewhere out there. Before I knew it, baby fever hit me. I was delirious with thoughts that maybe I would never have a baby. I wanted to have a baby imediatamente!  My new husband was on board, ready to minister to me, pues si, como no? The plan had been to wait a couple of years and adjust to married life. I let my emotions get the best of me and pretty soon waiting felt like an eternity. Y sabes que? I didn’t even know if I liked kids, hijole! I really hadn’t thought about being a mother. The emotions were spilling over making a mess of everything, la verdad es que the birth control pills were causing chaos. I wanted to have Ben’s baby, now! Maybe there was something wrong? Maybe I would never ever experience pregnancy. What was taking so long? I mean, we had already been married for six months. I should go to the doctor, to find out what was wrong with me, other than birth control.

All In The First Year

Then, suddenly there was a brief moment in our eight months of married life that having a baby didn’t consume my heart. My ama was very ill and I was scared. I thought about not having my mother, did new wives face life without their ama? The doctor gave dad the dreaded news and gave him the ultimatum “Do you want to take her off life support?” Our family exploded and divided. It was a terrible decision my apa faced and we held our breath between arguments. But in the end, my dad didn’t have to make the decision, my ama helped him out and quietly took care of things, como siempre. I worried that maybe I wouldn’t see her again when I said goodbye at the graveside, but God reminded me of her heart and his care of her. I missed my ama, and Ben was there with me, holding me. After we buried her and I went home I tried to get on with my life, trying to mourn “correctly,” I couldn’t. I was feeling queasy and very tired, sleep is all I wanted. 

I went to the doctor and just like that, a new chapter in our lives began.

 Embarazada?! a baby in my womb, incredible!  pero, I didn’t feel anything, shouldn’t I be “feeling pregnant”? Y ahora qué? I wouldn’t see a doctor again for weeks! How would I take care of the baby? Should I be resting? I rushed home to wait for Ben to come home from work and tell him the news. It was the longest day of my life, before cell phones, before email for us or a computer at home. 

I was giddy with excitement, I wanted to share my news with my ama, y mis hermanas. I had to do it in order, Ben first. All the anxious waiting made me worry for the baby, maybe my accelerated heart rate wasn’t good for my baby?  I stood in front of the mirror and looked for visible change in my body. No, that pansa wasn’t my baby, it was just that, my belly. I wondered how in the world there could be a baby in there? Amazing! another human being slowly or quickly, forty weeks, taking shape inside of my belly! 

Daily I stood in front of the mirror to admire my growing baby and pretty quickly I was rewarded with a baby belly, one of the ladies in church said it was just my belly. Talk about “bursting your bubble!” But I didn’t want to believe her, my bump was beautiful! I still didn’t feel or look different but I loved that growing bump. I was one of those lucky pregnant women who didn’t experience all the horrors of the first trimester, the few things I experienced were so minimal that I wondered if I was really pregnant, maybe I was just getting fat?  When I returned to the doctor I was embarrassed that I was there for a prenatal check up and I was probably not even pregnant!  The doctor asked me several questions, then he said “ok, let’s listen to the heart beat”  I laid back on the examining table and turned my face to the wall while he applied the cold jelly all over my abdomen, que verguenza, for sure now the truth was gonna come out; no baby in there!  I was holding my breath waiting for his decree. He allowed the wand to sit in one place as we heard the sound, over and over, swooshing air. Was it me? I turned to look at the doctor with a questioning look. “That’s the baby’s heartbeat.” My baby’s heart was strong and busy.  I was in love all over again.  I left that office, leaning back a little as I walked, well I was pregnant after all. At home I stood in front of the mirror, my normal side view gaze, the belly bump seemed a little bigger, I needed maternity clothes. What was that cream that had been recommended for stretch marks?  What would he look like? Would he look like his father? Would he look like a gringo? Or a Mexican? What should we call him? Claro que I just knew my first baby was a boy and I was barely even pregnant! But I was.

Grandbaby Fever

Back to the future, Ben and Mo don’t need a nagging mother whining for her portion.  I’ll have to suppress the urgent “grandbaby fever” spikes for as long as possible. The first year of marriage has so many changes packed into it, my reward will come just in time.

A Love Story

All this wedding activity stirred me up for a love story. I went back and pulled up a story I pieced together a few years ago from the fragment pieces of information that my apa and ama had shared through the years. One day as I was feeling muy romantica I asked my father “How did you meet my Ama?” He dropped this into my brain and heart:

En la Fiesta del Señor, le ofrecí una flor ye ella la acepto, y alli empezo” I melted with anxious desire to know more. When you offered that flower, who was she with? What’s La Fiesta Del Señor? What was she wearing? Y muchas mas preguntas, details that a girl needs to have. This story is grounded in facts but does have plenty of embellishments to tie it all in.  I can only imagine the hardship they experienced trying to make ends meet and the pain my ama suffered when dad came to America leaving her and the baby. I filled in the gaps to write their story.


Maria ran inside breathless and Angel came zooming in behind her, bending down she lifted him up, Ugh! He was getting so big, nuzzling him, while she looked over at her husband’s picture on the small table she whispered “He’s coming home baby, Apa viene a casa.” She missed him so much, but Angel wasn’t affected by her news, he didn’t know the man in the picture. It was another reality that pointed to their “separate lives” marriage. She studied his handsome face and lean body, standing tall in his Levi Strauss  jeans and cowboy hat, looking tan Americano. It seemed like an eternity since he had left, worrying that he wouldn’t come back. She had spent too many days angry with her husband for leaving, but today, despite her fears, and his obvious change, she embraced the yearning she felt for him and allowed herself to remember how wonderful his full lips felt on her. She hugged her toddler tight, and whispered “you’re going to love your Apa” trying to stop the memory of the day he had left. 


“No llores”. He hated her tears.

 “Chuy, We talked about this. I need to feed my family and I need money to do that. I must go. En el otro lado, I’ll make lots of money and then come home quickly, before you know it!” 

 “Por favor no te vayas. Think of your hijo” Maria clung to him, hoping that duty to his son would keep him home with her.

“I’m not leaving you like that! Comprendeme, I need to go? My mother will help you with the baby” He pulled her close.

“You don’t have to leave Manuel, I will work”

 He stiffened at her words and pulled her away from him.

 “You work too hard, too long, too much. Look at you, you’re pale, you’re too thin, and the dark circles under your eyes accuse me. What kind of a man am I to allow this?

“Oh, I see.” She hugged herself trying to hide her unattractiveness from him.

“I should have left a long time ago, then I would already be back with plenty of dólares to sustain us. I’ll send money, I promise you will not have to work so hard.” 

“No Manuel, don’t leave. I promise to take better care of myself. You’ll have better eyes for me, please don’t leave. I don’t care if everyone else is living like this. I hate seeing families separate! Wives are forgotten while husbands go off to chase dolares  and who knows what else!”

“I’ll return quickly, te lo prometo” He reached for her but she turned and ran to the bathroom. His promise of a quick return pierced her while she vomited her breakfast and crumbled to the floor, holding her abdomen. Their family was growing and he was leaving. Receiving a letter meant his prolonged stay, yet not receiving a letter provoked such worry in her. What if he got ill? What if he decided not to come home?


Querida Chuy,

I hope you and Angel are well. I am now situated in a small room in Mexicali, Baja California, tomorrow I will look for more work on the other side, the gringos are always looking for strong help so it has been easy to get work and make money. There is plenty of work, I’ll be able to make a lot of money. Hace mucho calor! The heat is almost unbearable, pero me aguanto!  knowing that you and Angel need me I will endure this inferno. The money I’ve sent should cover all the household expenses for a while.  Como esta mi hijo? Tell him that I love him, saludos a tu familia. 

Que Dios te bendiga, te lo desea



At first she had been too angry to tell him about the pregnancy. After the morning sickness had passed, she was well and so was their son. Life didn’t change much for Angel, he had quickly adopted her oldest brother; Chino as his dad and life was peachy for him. Gracias a Dios that she had him to fill her days. The baby safely grew in her womb and she yearned for her husband. She reminded herself often “He said he would come back” Maybe, telling him about the second baby would prompt him to return quickly and be with her when her time came. She wrote him a letter hoping it would arrive quickly, there wasn’t much time. 

 Her  heart was broken when she went into labor, she received a letter and more money to sustain them comfortably, but no mention of the baby. Alone she welcomed their second son and called him Arturo.


Eventually a letter did reach him in the Sierra Nevada mountains. His patron needed a sheep herder and he needed to keep working. A numbingly cold and lonely job, just him, the horse, Kazam the dog and the sheep in the cold outdoors. The patron had brought supplies and mail, he was ready for news from home. A letter from his wife and mother, good news he hoped. Que?! “Manuel estoy embarazada” Maria wrote that she was pregnant, But his mother had said in her letter “El niño y Chuy are just fine but come as soon as you’re able” Un hijo?! 


 “Apa, Apa” Angel clapped his chubby hands “Tío, mi apa!” Angels enthusiasm brought her back, “No, baby, your uncle is not your daddy. Your daddy is coming back from El Norte very soon, maybe today you’ll meet him again” she pressed on her breast as they filled with milk, “He’s coming back! And you and your baby brother will have apa home!” Angel laughed as she twirled him around, “Our family will be together again, everyone will see that we were not abandoned. She stopped abruptly in front of her broken mirror “Wow! I’ve changed so much too”  

She put her son down and touched her head, so much of her hair had fallen out during her pregnancy. Her body was still flabby from her labor and delivery. her skin pale from lack of sleep, she wondered what Manuel would think of her now. She pulled on her face, peering into the mirror piece “ aayy! que fea estoy. Ugly!” She accused the image just as Arturo wailed for his lunch, her hands flew to her breast, she winced at how hard they got if she waited too long to nurse the baby. She hesitated, looking again into her broken mirror, if Manuel walked in right now, he would notice her full rounded breast, maybe that wasn’t so bad. Beauty would have to wait again, her boys were hungry. The baby wailed demanding to be nursed and Angel pulled on her skirt, asking for a taco, he too was hungry. Manuel was coming soon and she had to do something about herself, she said to the mirror piece ”I’ll be back and maybe you’ll help me see the areas I can work on.” She ran to get a tortilla for Angel and then picked up her screaming baby. While the baby gurgled at her breast she sighed ready to end this separation and the anxiety it produced. 

She remembered her mother in-laws inability to understand her. It didn’t matter that young wives and their babies were being abandoned at epidemic proportions, while young husbands imagined streets paved with dolares. Did Manuels mother think her anxieties were unfounded? Dona Rosario was confident that her son would be loyal to his family and return as soon as he was able.  It was Marias job to care for the boys and make a nice home for them with his money. She hated when Maria wasted money, and the mirror had been a waste. 

 “Why do you need a mirror Maria? You need to be wise with the money my son sends you.” “Pero, Doña Rosario, how am I supposed to keep myself beautiful for your son if I can’t see what I look like? “No buts Maria, don’t waste money, you need to worry more about Angel and the baby that will be here soon” “No señora I need it so that if Manuel returns I will have maintained myself” She was careful all the way home, then Angel raced out to meet her and when the mirror slipped to the ground it broke in two pieces, with no time to regret it, she swooped her toddler up and took him inside so she could pick up her mirrors.

She looked into the mirror as she burped her baby, “Doña Rosario was right, Manuel is coming home and you, Mirror Mirror you really didn’t help, but you certainly taunted me every time you pointed out how unraveled I’ve been. She adjusted her dress and planted a kiss on Arturo’s cheek. 

She got busy with the meager meal, glad that soon they would eat more than frijoles,  she was tired of beans. She poured the last of the lard into the hot pan and waited for it to get hot then poured the beans into it. They sizzled then splattered, spitting on to her cheek, “Owww!” she hissed and turned to her mirror piece and it seemed to laugh at her with her red blotchy cheek.  She sighed and was glad when her toddler  took the plate of beans with such gusto, as if she had served him a steaming hot bowl of pozole, the hominy chicken soup was his favorite. She smiled and hoped that there would be enough tortillas to satisfy her growing boy. She knew Manuel had not left her to chase a dream, but to take care of them. When Manuel came they had too much business to attend to, her appearance shouldn’t matter now, but again she glanced in the mirror piece “Oh no! Now I’ll have a scar! She should get rid of that accusing glass! Tears of anxiety squeezed from her eyes as much as she was determined not to cry over such vanities. Worry marked her face as Angel ran to her and asked “Mama? Coco?” And reached up for her. “Si, Angel, just a little owie” she hugged him as a tear rolled down her face, Manuel was coming home, he promised.

Manuel walked in, quietly watching his wife and son. Angel looked up and snapped “NO! Swinging at the stranger as he clung to his mother. “Amor, que te pasa?” Maria looked up wondering what was wrong as her son’s anxiety accelerated “No, no!” Maria swung around and there stood her beautiful husband, he looked like a dark American under his cowboy hat, his blue jeans and boots.  She shrunk back anxious, noticing the American in him and his presence reminded her that she was quite undone. While Angel swung to protect his mother from the stranger she slowly took in how good he looked.  Manuel reached for the screaming toddler, murmuring his name. “Angel, Mi hijo” Angel screamed in terror “Amaaa!” Maria smiled, “Ya mi amor, ya. There There She said between tears, “Es tu papa” Manuel quickly closed the gap and embraced them both. There in his arms Maria let the tears of relief roll down her cheeks, slumping her shoulders, she allowed Manuel to take care of his family. 

The Wedding Day Approaches

Solo ocho dias. 8 days to go till I lose my hijo, not really, but yes really. My little Emery is gonna be a husband in one short week, a twinkling of an eye! Pero, wait! Are we ready? Of course I was ready for marriage. I was a very mature 22 year old bride to be. Everything for Ben and I was gonna be perfect. This young Ben is ready to fly, and all I can do is pray. I’m not ready.

The Wedding Vows:

I kinda want to sit him down, like a time out and make him read his vows and ponder on them and feel them, I did just that, as I pictured his handsome face looking into his bride’s eyes, bright and yearning.

“I, Benjamin Emery Greene take thee, ___to be my wedded wife (su mujer, Hijole! Is all that I will allow myself to think and write) to have and to hold from this day forward, (Oh God give him the wisdom, the passion, the grace to cleave to his beautiful girl always) for better, (Dios mio, let there be muchos “for better” days) for worse, (and please, oh please give my hijo strength enough for both of them when “the worse” days show up, maybe I should warn him, that they do up sometimes unexpectedly, and other times our foolishness invites them) for richer, (Asi es! Gods blessing pressed down, shaken together and overflowing! We do have a generous Father)  for poorer, (Hijole! Let this young couple learn to have joy even when Starbucks is out of the budget)  in sickness and in health, (Dios mio cuida a mi hijo y a su mujer, oh that my grandchildren would also thrive :D) to love and to cherish, till death do us part, (Jesus draw them always to you and each other, that they may grow old together) according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”

The Check List

Y por su puesto that my brain is exploding with all the details that can easily be forgotten. Conversations that seem random, but they’re not. De veras, they matter, I never really touch the real check list.

Me: Daniella, did they remember the plates for the appetizers?

Daniella: I’ll check

 Me: What do you think of using this scripture? Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” 

Daniella: I’ll make a sign with it.

Me: I’m gonna change the menu again. I am not comfortable making  “Pasta al limone”  I know Colleen says it’s easy, but I’m not used to following a recipe. You know how I cook, I tweaked it before I could get through with it, it was ok. Thomas liked it. Cita said it needed more lemon and it needed to be saucier. I’m not comfortable.  I’m gonna do Mexican. I’ll make enchiladas, verdes y rojas. Pero…

Daniella: Mom, just make your pasta bakes, you’re comfortable with those. 

Me: Yes, ok I’ll do that instead. We need to figure out the appetizer table. 

This conversation is getting more and more involved and tangled as the day gets closer. Y, the conversation with self is also endless. I wonder if my dress is ready yet? I’m glad I found shoes. I can’t believe that on Tuesday will be our last opportunity to sit at the dinner table together, asi es, our last time with Emery as a single man, mi hijo is going to the altar of marriage, que voy hacer? I just heard my daughter’s words again “Mom you have other children” Ya se, ya se, I haven’t lost a son, he’s not cutting me out of his life, but I kinda feel that loss right now as I’m also hearing my older sons words after Daniella was married “So how’s life without the princess in the house?” Bofetada! Hijole that transition was too hard for me. I’ll talk about the rehearsal dinner instead.

Rehearsal Dinner

Primeramente,  who instituted these edict rules such as a fancy “wedding rehearsal dinner” U yu yui, De veras? What stress just before the big day, but I guess it’s nice to say thanks to all hands that help make this day beautiful for the couple huh? According to the rules, it’s dinner for the wedding party, but with our church family, it’s all hands on deck! So our dinner party is much larger. Y mi hija, who is rich in creativity, is in DIY mode, she’s gonna make it beautiful, she only needs me to make it tasty and inviting, and I say, then let me cook Mexican food! Were having a nice Italian dinner, made by me, a strong latina woman. Breath Rosie, it’ll be delicious! Our family and friends, who will be gathered will love it, verdad que si? Because they love us. Relax, (what does that feel like?) the wedding is gonna be beautiful. 

En conclusion

There isn’t a conclusion, but I’ll keep you posted. I’ve gotta pack, I’ve gotta get my nails done and a petti. Mi hijo is getting married en ocho dias

A Kiss For Apa

I was having a conversation with someone just yesterday about her relationship with her mother and well, she sadly described her mother as manipulative. Pero esperate! As a mother, quickly I defended my fellow mother and said, “she just doesn’t want you to move and is glad for the extra time she’ll have with you, she’s gonna find the change difficult” Pero, the quick response was “No. She knows how to manipulate me and get her way” And what did I do? I pulled out my mothering portfolio. Asi soy yo? Do my kids see me like that… then it went to my marriage relationship. Do I use my words and feelings to manipulate? Hijole!

We carry into our new relationships so much baggage, so much old things, hidden things and sometimes we don’t even realize it. Relationships can take so many turns, verdad que si? Some relationships are easier to maneuver than others. Hijole! This sounds like a therapy session huh? Pero, I had a beautiful conversation with my sister this week, it was very therapeutic. She shared with me a beautiful memory and it turned out to be another puzzle piece in my own memories and conclusions of mi ama. I was so grateful for it, through my sister, my ama gave me a useful tool to use as I practice relationships. 

When I was 15 years old, I had stepped into some nasty reality. It felt gross  and I angrily formed judgments, from my perspective my parents weren’t doing things well at all! and our lives shouldn’t be affected negatively. I would take care of my own heart.  I built walls of protection, that weren’t much protection at all! They were ungrateful walls of pride and “stinking thinking” like my pastor says. Thankfully at 18 years old God drew me to him and his reality and He has carried me through the seasons of life. That was almost 4 decades ago and of course as I’ve entered into my own relationships I’ve understood and experienced some of the ugly realities of life. I’ve learned to push back against the lies and misconceptions, face the facts and use the freedom I have to make right and good choices for my life that will affect others.  I do not have to accept what the devil wants to throw at me, I do not have to conform to the ways of this world, even though I live here. 

As I continue to learn to learn and practice good healthy habits in relationships, I am ever grateful for those surprises of healing that come unexpectedly. 

As Marina and I were talking and comparing notes on how God speaks to us and shows us the concern he has for the littlest of details in our lives, we turned to talking about the most vulnerable and sometimes very difficult relationship we are experiencing, our marriage relationship. That relationship that God created for a man and a woman, God said that it was not good for man to be alone. Por supuesto que my latina, novela driven mind explodes at what that first meeting must have been like for the man and his wife. Eve, innocent, batting her lashes and Adam exploding at the gift? The responsibility? The journey? That lay before him. Anyway, back to my story.

As women we yearn to express so freely our love for our husbands, to tell them, to show them, but circumstances or history or baggage inhibit us. There we were on the phone talking about how hard it is to just be free to express our amor, then Marina said, “Don’t you remember the way my mom always kissed dad on the forehead?” Explosion in my head! Like a wrecking ball hitting a strong wall of pride. Y yo dije “What?! I don’t remember that? I never saw my ama kiss dad, never!” And Marina was surprised, because she saw it often. Como? How was it that I never saw that? Pero asi es, some memories stick more than others. For Marina all these years it has been something else she learned from our ama and now practices it and it pulls her through whatever wave wants to knock her down. When things are sticky and difficult. When walls of isolation want to stubbornly climb higher and higher, she’ll do like our ama did and look at her husband and while he’s busy, not even interrupting him, she goes over to him and kisses him on the forehead and it helps her.

I was humbled again at my mothers strength. I again appreciated her perseverance in the most difficult relationship she chose to maintain. I was happy that I could see beyond the “facts” and I told Marina that I too was going to use that kiss to break down a wall. I left that conversation so incredibly blessed for the kiss my ama gave me. 

Wedding Day Details

Just 30 days left of Wedding plan for my son and his girl. Just 30 days for his sister, the unofficial and untitled wedding planner to fuel their wedding day dream, with untried creativity. Thirty more days for the rest of us to help or meddle. Pero, la verdad es que all the detallitos, those little embellishments confound me. I mean, how critical is it that the utensils be ensembled a particular way?  I am working hard at NOT letting other details arrest me. Por ejemplo,  it’s my third child getting married, no big deal verdad? I’m already wearing the mother in law shoes. I know mi hijo won’t forget me. I hope that this strong latina suegra won’t scare his sweet girl. I’m praying that when life settles down he’ll put me in the right place in his heart and with his wife in his arms, I’ll enjoy the newest San Diego Greene couple. 

As the day draws closer and closer I’m stepping back in my own wedding planning or lack of it. Ahora si, now that I’m an abuela, an ‘old married lady’ I have my opinion. Can anyone hear me? Will it matter now? My stomach is jittery again and I’m wondering how’s Ems beautiful girl is handling the wedding planning.

During Engagement:

When I was engaged, I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to behave. I had a ring on my finger, but no date and my “husband to be” was out to sea. I was a busy fiancé writing love letters  to my comprometido, telling him my woes of singleness. I was keeping busy accepting any dinner invite my lonely heart received and as I consumed the delicious tostones and arroz con habichuelas that my Puerto Rican friends offered I put aside the wedding plans for mañana.

Covered in Questions:

At church, at work, with friends, y con la familia the questions buried me and my engagement ring.

“Do you have a dress? Where are you looking? Do you know what style you want? Have you tried on some dresses? Y sabes que, I’ve been getting those same questions again! And I’m just the mother of the groom.

“Who’s your maid of honor? Bridesmaids? Flower girl? Ring bearer? What colors will you be using? I thought white was the only color I needed, ya se, ya se, pobrecita Rosie…I still don’t have a favorite color! Y! Back in those days there was no beautiful little girl or boy, like my grandchildren that captured my heart to crown them flower girl and ring bearer. Maybe I was remembering the uncooperative flower girl I had been.

Where are you getting your flowers? Who’s making your cake? Where’s the reception? What’s on the menu? Did you find a photographer?  Always my answer was “I don’t know”

The Things in Miss Rosalba’s Head

Despite the mountain of  “I don’t knows” the things that worried me were:

Will my familia be there? I was stepping into uncharted waters, marrying outside of mi gente and my wedding was outside of the family’s tradition. Would my ama come to my wedding? I worried that my apa wouldn’t give me away. 

What was Ben’s mother gonna really think of me? My heart trembled, “Oh God, help me”

I needed to figure out how to make a wedding invitation that would embrace both of our heritage. Spanglish was just me and besides it was too uncouth. Although in reality it would have fit right in with my unplanned wedding day details. In the end I chose two completely different styles, English and Spanish. I’m not sure if I asked for advice or ignored it. 

What was I going to focus on when I gave my testimony during the ceremony? Oh I worried that I wouldn’t get the whole beautiful story of redemption across. 

On My Wedding Day:

Mira lo que sigue conmigo, I was unused to too much makeup, and I felt overdone with eyeshadow, ya se ya se. 

My testimony was wordy, did anyone get the revelation that I was a new creation in Christ?

I shared my first meal with my Benjamin, fried chicken and potato salad. I was hungry! I thought brides were too full of butterflies to feel hunger, of course I would be different!

Ben shocked me when we cut the cake, he smeared frosting on my face! And guess what? I couldn’t do it back to him!

My parents gave me their blessing and my apa represented them both on my wedding day. Ama was physically unable to attend, and it broke her heart. My apa was nervous, but his proud regal Zepeda stance sustained him as he stood with me that day. His sister, my faithful Tia Chepina and her family came to my wedding, something I’m forever grateful for. My apas brother, Tio Chuy was there too. He and his wife, my quirky Tia Cuca always appreciated that I included them into my life. My sisters, pillars in my support system were there, making sure they encircled me with protection as I ventured into this voyage. 

Me acuerdo, that the drive up the mountain to see my ama at the hospital was long and winding. I sat next to mi esposo and apa sat in the back seat. Hijole! Was it ok to hold his hand? 

If I Could Do It Over:

What would I do differently if I had the knowledge I have now? Probably everything would change! Pero, so many other little things, seemingly unimportant things remain in my heart, those things for sure I wouldn’t change.

In the fire of wedding planning so many things happen, and so many things are dropped. So much explosive emotions and countless offenses can happen. The best thing I can do for Ems girl is pray for her peace. Emery knows I’m here to help, y gracias a Dios, he’s not hesitating to ask for it.  

Que Dios los Bendiga, with his hedge of protection and peace on these last 30 days of wedding planning.

Our Love Languages

Is Valentines Day a big deal to you? It is to retailers around the globe. It’s definitely muy significante to new love birds.Y quizas it’s a huge deal when you’re single? Singleness is extra on Valentines Day, verdad? I remember bien clarito the dread of the upcoming Valentines Day.. I always imagined que todo el mundo was out on a romantic date but me. Single Awareness Day is February 15, Pero hijole! It was on the 14th that I was really SAD. Gracias a Dios that I’ve got my amor, I am the wife of his youth. After 3 decades we rejoice, knowing that God has kept us one. We fight, sometimes, pero mostly we contend hard to practice the way of true love.  To some people this kind of love is a difficult foreign language to acquire, y pues, I’m still learning it.

Do you know of the Five Love languages that Dr. Gary Chapman writes about? Aye te va, my interpretations. 

Words of affirmation: It’s my love language. He’s gonna tell me how good, great and wonderful I am. BUT he’s not just going to flatter me, or tell me a lie. He’s going to find something good that he sees in me and tell me. That will lift me up and encourage me. Pues! What can I say, my Cold Blooded Englishman is a man of few words. I’ve learned how to read his words of affirmation from his touch. My son always jokes “I told her that I loved her when I married her!” 

Acts of Service– This is my other love language. I get up and fix his lunch and make him breakfast before he leaves for work. He gets up and makes my coffee. I try to make his favorite food, hijole! He loves fish and I can’t even stand the smell of it! I’m glad we didn’t have that in the fine print of the wedding vows. He’s satisfied with a back rub. Hmmm… in our culturally mixed marriage, I am speaking his love language in my dialect? 

Receiving Gifts:  Dr. Chapman writes that the person who speaks this love language will feel loved when they get a nice gift from their spouse. Segun, it’s neither of our primary languages, but we definitely enjoy receiving gifts. Ben is a thoughtful gifter and he is generous. Our kids know that “the good gifts” come from their dad and the needed gifts come from their mother. Honestly, roses on Valentine’s day are not that critical to me, especially when our budget is tight! Pero, one day while he was at work, the owner of the house had some beautiful yellow roses and my Flaco  took a pic and sent it to me with those much desired words of affirmation “I thought of you when I saw this rose” Yes! Alleluia!  It was a beautiful yellow rose, now that I think about it, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one so beautiful again. Needless to say I was en las nubes that afternoon, sitting cozy on that cloud of happy thoughts. 

Quality Time: This one is tricky. Quality? As in lets have a deep conversation y un cafecito. Let’s walk around the neighborhood and talk. Let’s use lots of words, please. Or, let’s get the fire going and pick up our current books. Cozy, quiet and calm reading time, while the fire crackles. Ben drinks up this quality time. Pero, my absolute favorite is when the familia gangs up on us and plans a family night and since it’s our house they include us.

Physical Touch: Calmense! Not that kind of touch…only, but the sweet touch of everyday reaching out to put your hand on your spouse. This is not my love language but, what I would do if Ben ever stopped reaching out for me during our worship time in the middle of church. One hand over my shoulder and the other lifted to God in adoration. It’s Ben’s prominent love language and he demonstrates it generously. 

En Conclusion:

Just last night in our marriage seminar I heard these words again “practice makes perfect.” Valentines weekend, asi es, milk it, take all that is your portion, and enjoy “El Dia del Amor” while practicing God’s love language.

Esperate,  Wise King Solomon warned 

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up nor awake my love, until he please.” (Song of Solomon 8:4)

Taking His Name

When I get a chance to listen to Dennis Prager on good old fashioned radio, our San Diego’s 1170 am station, I enjoy it. The 2nd hour on Wednesday is called the Male-Female Hour. The hot topic this week was about taking your husband’s name when you marry: Did you? Did you not?  Why or why not?

I did it in a hyphenated fashion, like a true latina. 

Mrs. Benjamin Walter Greene

Of course, como siempre it sparked a memory. After the decision to marry my Benjamin came the realization that my name was going to change. Honestly it wasn’t even a question of would I? Taking his name in this traditional fashion is what I wanted, it connected me to him and I felt that it covered me, in the biblical sense “for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and the two shall become one flesh” Mrs. Benjamin Walter Greene.

I know that young girls  in their little dreamland fantasy world, dream about getting married. I can’t say I did that, but I definitely remember playing around with my childhood crush’s last name next to mine. Two latino names went well together for the most part. Pero, when it came time to marry my gringo, I was going to put on his name. His old English name. Hijole!

I examined the name change with a microscopic lens! 

I would no longer be the last person on the list or the last person called. However, the change meant I would take off my mothers maiden name.  No longer would I be Rosalba Flores Zepeda.

Then, I figured since Zepeda would be my middle name I would no longer have to make the needed pronunciation corrections: Not Zeepeeda, not Zepayda or Zepahda. Just Zepeda, like this, Cehpehdah, in spanish, soft c sound, short e’s, short a.  Not a big deal to anyone else I’m sure. 

I practiced writing my married name. Rosalba Zepeda Greene Hijole! I was comforted by the fact that it was still long. It is a well known fact, latinas have long or several names, verdad?. My greatest concern became how my new name combo would sound! (hand over face Emoji) It sounds odd, unmatched. This Spanglish speaking girl had no problem rolling out the Spanish name with the English one, but I knew it would be destroyed by others…and it has been. Spanish only speakers say Green-ee and english speakers drawl out the “sal” part of Rosalba and after 33 years I find myself correcting the pronunciation of my name still… “It’s Greene, like the color, with an ‘e’ at the end.” To the spanish speakers I say “no es Grini” (pronounced in spanish) es Green (pronounced in english) Did that confuse you? Welcome to my Spanglish world.

The idea of how unmatched or odd it sounded did make me nervous. A reminder that we were embarking into a whole new world. Sometimes we love the mixture of spices and other times things are quite bland. We leave the rolling “Rs to me.” 

I’m not going to pretend, 33 years of practice hasn’t helped  my name flow smoothly. Imaginate the shock I felt the first time I heard my son’s Spanish immersion teacher say “Buenos dias Senora Greene” My name in it’s various versions is  like going on a 30mph road and having to slow down suddenly because were not actually going 30mph, and the speed bump whacks us. I can hear myself saying “Aye Ben! be careful.” I have embraced my hyphenated Spanglish name, but to make things easier, I don’t mind if you just call me Rosie.

Your name or his name? or Both?

Did you take your husband’s name? Did you keep your own or mesh the two? Maybe you kept your mothers maiden name as well and just added his name to the list, like a true latina! Tell me about it in the comments.