What Mom Taught Me

In case you missed last year's surprise Mother's Day post, here is the link.

Also: Mom. You really should change your password once in awhile...


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 Mami taught me how to have great adventures.

We have driven to Vegas together more times than I can count.
Today, I love driving and am always ready to take a road trip.

We saw the GoGo's at Mandalay Bay (outside on "the beach" - aka The Pool) and we got drenched. Afterwards, we were sitting, still dripping, and having a cafecito while watching the people who had just come from an Il Divo concert head into the casino. We couldn't stop laughing about the people being dressed to the nines while we were dripping.
I wish I could remember what was so funny about the guy we met in the elevator, but at the time it was the funniest thing we'd ever heard.
When a friend invited me to the symphony, I knew how to dress because of that dripping in Vegas moment... and I still make friends with people in elevators.

She took me to New York with her right after 9/11. We FLEW. The two towers were still burning, but we went.
When she mentioned a trip to San Antonio to cook Cuban food for our troops, I bought my ticket right away.

We have gone to Miami plenty of times for Cuba Nostalgia because she had taught me to be proud of my heritage and my culture.
When abuela asked if I would take her to Cuba to be reunited with her siblings (for the first time since fidel took over) I did not hesitate; I went to Cuba.

We have met totally famous people and been total dorks about it.
People have treated us like we're famous and we have been total dorks about it.

We saw (presidential hopeful) Mike Huckabee at the airport, but I was convinced it wasn't him. She went up and shook his hand. She was right.
We were in L.A. and I said "Mami, that's Pitbull," but she wasn't convinced it was him. We eventually shook his hand. I was right.

Mami taught me to be fearless. And to be right. ;-)



Kiki Amy

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My mom taught me to appreciate comfort.

I can remember sitting on mom's lap at Luza's old house, in the living room in the dark when she was trying to put me to sleep.  I remember sucking on her finger while she tried to rock me to sleep.  She always played with my hair to calm me down and I still run my fingers through my hair to relax now when I'm all wound up.  She would always say, "Who loves you more then anyone else in the whole wide world?"

She asked because she already knew the answer. And so do I.




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Mom taught me to be fearless.

I remember the first time I had auditioned for my first musical. I was an extremely nervous, shy and quiet person. (Hard to believe now, I know.) Before I left, my Mom told me: "Be fearless. If you are fearless... they will respect you."

Every audition I’ve had since then, I have chosen to be fearless.  All because my Mom, I am now outgoing, well-spoken, respected and trusted by my friends. Thank you Mom, for teaching me to be fearless.

I love you, Mom! And thank you for letting me live. ;-)



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My wife taught me the importance of telling stories.

When we are out at some family gathering or just out doing something fun together, she will stop and take photos or little video clips. I have to admit it used to drive me crazy.

But later when she writes about our time together or glues down the pictures in her scrapbook or tells these stories to our friends, I am grateful. She helps me slow down and see myself as part of a great story. Happy Mother's Day, honey. I love you.



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My mom taught me how to learn… and learn quickly.

Imitation was a skill I developed at a young age. And I had always believed that if mom could do it, I could do it too. My mom taught me how to bake a perfect cake (from scratch), how to do laundry (don’t mix whites with dark colors), how to sew (keep your finger away from the needle), how to clean the bathtub (it’s not a fun job, but someone’s gotta do it)...

My favorite compliment was to be called “mommy’s little helper.”

Later, she encouraged me to pursue my own interests. If I wanted to know how to do something, I had more than enough resources to learn how to do it myself.

My mom is an intensely curious, playful, thoughtful, and opinionated woman with the greatest sense of humor. She’s brave and honest and deeply connected to her culture. She had an excellent fashion sense, she makes the greatest pastelitos de guayaba, and she loves a good story.

Thanks to mom, I learned how to be a good listener, how to take care of myself, how to apologize, how to be creative, how to write, how to take a beautiful photograph and, most importantly, how to say “I love you.” and mean it.

Here’s to the best teacher I ever had. Happy mother’s day, mom! I love you so much I could spit.



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Also, bonus picture of mom singing karaoke to Neil Diamond at the top of her lungs... on Christmas Day.