Wings are not so easy to handle

We constantly repeat and hear things like “we want our children to be independent” “you only learn when you make mistakes” “give your children wings“.  But as one of my best friends said once: It is easier to call the devil than to see it coming.

Anyway, we have a very independent teen in our house. He is 13 but due to safety reasons in our home country, he never walked to school or rode a bike alone or took a bus. Things have changed though, now we live in beautiful BC and it was only a matter of time for him to want those things. For those of you that don’t live here, riding a bike in BC means being on the road, some have bike lanes but not all of them, so you basically share the road with cars. It took as a while to let him bike by himself, we studied the best roads for him to get to a specific destination and he’s been out 5-6 times alone. It is nerve wrecking I admit, but soon he’d be legally able to drive a car so it was hard to delay the biking.

And then the bus thing just happened. Last week with friends, but yesterday he wanted to go a specific soccer field by bus by himself, back and forth. Both my husband and I could have driven him, but we decided to zip it and we said ok. We checked the bus lines with him, agreed the best stops and the time to catch each bus. He made it without issues to the field. Coming back I called to check on him when I knew he was supposed to be on the bus and he says: “Hey mom, well I took the wrong bus and I am in downtown, but don’t worry, I already asked, I know which bus will take me home and I am just waiting for the bus to arrive”.

My whole body went into PANIC mode, the one triggered by your amygdala. It took all the self control possible to utter this words: “Ok, call me when you are in the bus“. I hung up, told dad, who surprisingly was even more concerned than me. We looked at each other and tacitly agreed that we should let him deal with this and do not even think of offering to go get him.

10 minutes later we decided to call to check on him and he was getting on the bus to come home. I decided to wait for him at the stop because it was getting dark. I told dad to stay home. When he came off the bus, he had a huge smile on his face, said FINALLY and gave me a big hug. He apologised for taking the wrong bus (to which I proudly responded, no worries son, that’s how you learn and you solved your problem) and he started telling me all about his bus adventure.

It was hard folks, it was hard not to come to the rescue and solve his mishap, it was hard controlling our protective instincts and let him handle the situation. But we are sure that this is what was right for him, it will strengthen his confidence, his self-esteem and the feeling that he has the resources to solve things.

This parenting thing becomes harder by the second, so if you have young children, hold on tight, it’s a scary but great ride!

 

 

Baby Luca

Luca is my first nephew. The first son of my not-so-little anymore brother. The first cousin of my son.

To the casual reader, these statements may not seem very relevant but they speak loudly to me.

Before I begin explaining them, let me just state the obvious: Luca stole my heart in a matter of seconds. His tiny body liked my chubby arms and chest while I loved feeling his heart beat, his breath and just watching him. We spent two weeks together and I cannot wait to hold him again. I am already addicted to receiving pictures and videos of him and sharing some of them with you all.

But let’s go back to my initial train of thought.

Luca is my first nephew and the first son of my not-so-little anymore brother: Man, I am 41, my brother 38 and it took him VERY long to decide to become a dad. I have practically begged him to make me an aunt since I can remember. So I guess the big thank you goes to my sis-in-law. Anyway, if you want to experience true mother-type love but without the constant worrying of “Am I doing it wrong?” make sure you have a nephew or a niece. It is loving someone with all your heart but without any anxiety or concerns. It does not get better than that. It is loving with freedom and feeling like a super hero.

Luca is the first cousin of my son: If we were a traditionally-formed family, I would have been a bit concerned that my son, now 13 and the youngest in the family, could feel some insecurities and even some jealousy. In our family, my concern was heightened because my son became a part of our family when he was 4 through adoption. So that made him not only the youngest but the only child that doesn’t share a biological bond with us.  I thought that perhaps he could be jealous of me deeply loving a baby with whom I do have a blood link or of my mom holding his first biological grandson or of his uncle whom he loves blindly.  When queried about feelings of jealousy –as we openly speak about feelings and fears- my son said: Yes, I am very jealous, because you and granny are always holding Luca and I want to hold him more.

So here’s to your birth and your life my dear Luca. Thank you for reminding us that family it’s about love, nothing else.

Auntie.

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Here we come again

Grieving is perhaps one of the most crushing experiences one could go through.  It forces you to face the reality of your own death and uncertainty that …, well just the uncertainty.

We go through life saying things like YOLO (you only live once for the non-Millenials reading) but are we actually fully aware of its significance? Are we aware that the last word we said to our loved ones might actually be the last word we ever say to them? Are we fully conscious that every second we spend with the people we love are truly gifts? Perhaps if we were, we would have held that last embrace or hug a little longer, we would have spent more time listening to the voice of those now gone or looked at their smile a little bit deeper. Yearning for that touch, that sound or that smile once they are no longer possible hurts in a way that only those who grieve can understand. The constant awareness or realization of the permanent physical absence crushes the strongest souls and overpowers any treasured memories.

I know this too shall pass. My rational self knows that this feeling of helplessness, the heavy chest and the teary eyes will pass.  My emotional self, though, feels tired of having to go through this again, of being forced to accept the feelings of abandonment that resurface every time someone close to my heart dies. But in the end, theirs or ours, acceptance is not subject to negotiation.

Coincidence?

After a long halt in writing my blog, a friend’s decision to start her own blog brought me here to write a post and reconnect with you all.  Should I be surprised that my last post was on March 17, 2014, 2 years ago from today? At 41, I know better. There are no coincidences. Everything is meant to be, there is a reason behind everything that happens in our life.  Not to mean that we go through life as robots just getting through our destiny, but I am convinced about the power of dates, anniversaries, cause and effect and faith.

Rethinking about my blog brought me to the question of choosing a language for my posts. Randomly Speaking started and was always a Spanish blog because I am from and was living in Venezuela. But things have changed. For the last 21 months, we have lived in Vancouver. We decided to leave Venezuela, looking for a new home to give us, but mostly our teenager son, a safer place to grow up. With safety comes freedom, physical and emotional, as well as opportunities.  Because our circumstances have changed, I have decided that the language of this blog also needed to change. We are not only Venezuelans who speak Spanish, we are now global citizens, with family and friends that speak a variety of languages, being English the common one. Hence my choice for English as the new language for my blog. So if you do not speak Spanish and are new here, Welcome! If, however, you are only a Spanish speaker and there’s is a post that catches your attention and you want a Spanish summary, I would be pleased to provide you with one, even better, I would tell you all about in a call because if you care about what I am writing, I care about you to🙂

For the new and the old visitors, here is a summary of me, or should I say us? I guess it is both.

-We are a Venezuelan family living in Vancouver since June 26, 2014.

-Our immediate family (I chose the word immediate only because we are the ones that moved to Vancouver) is 1) JG, our boy. He is 13 and he is the love of my life. I will tell you how we met in another post, the story deserves it, 2) The Hubby, 3) Cindy, our almost 4 year old rescue 75% Mini Pin, 25% who know what and 4) I, Ira: intense, loving, stubborn, faithful to the core, restless, impatient and determined mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend, soon-to-be aunt, niece, lawyer, entrepreneur and volunteer.

-Our family back home (and in Denver): Moms, dads, siblings, aunts and uncles and cousins.

-Adoption runs VERY close to our hearts.

-Our friends back home and abroad: Few, but amazing.

-Dogs are part of who we are.

-We are now immigrants, lucky and blessed ones. In less than two years, we have a new home (we actually bought a home in North Vancouver and we cannot believe how lucky we got) and most importantly we have made close friends that make us feel like we belong. Friends that become a substitute mother when you need to travel and drive your kid all over town to his many activities and do it with a smile on their faces, friends that call you up and say let’s go for a walk and bring Cindy (even when they don’t like dogs), friends that host a spa party so their friends can try the products you are distributing, friends that offer to take your son to a two week soccer trip in Europe when you say you cannot go and even though they have 3 kids on their own, coaches that become friends and text to see how your kid did in a try-out of a different sport, friends that support you in ways you never expected from people that a couple of years ago you didn’t even think of actually meeting.

-We are Mulgravians, our son goes to Mulgrave, the best school ever according to us. When you read admission materials the phrase “the right fit” is common. It sounds like a promotional phrase, until you actually find the school that is a reciprocal right fit. When that magic moment happens, you see what it means and we feel extremely fortunate to have found it. We have witnessed our son’s growth as an individual, as a human being, in ways that we couldn’t even imagine.

-We are a sports family only because our son is THE ATHLETE in this family (immediate and extended). He is extremely fit, works and trains harder than anybody I have ever met. The shirt he’s wearing actually reads: Train Insane or Remain the Same. It is the perfect shirt for him and that is how he thinks and behaves. Soccer is his passion though. He breaths soccer and the only dream he has is becoming a professional soccer player. So our days are filled with soccer practices, games, field, cleats, shin guards and water bottles (and thank God, deodorant!).  Running is his second sport. He runs competitively. He’s trying to beat his personal best record of 20:03 minutes for a 5K. I am sure he will beat it this year. He plays basketball, tennis, badminton, rugby and golf. He was also in a diving team, swims (only to please mama) and is crazy about mountain biking, snowboard and skiing. He had to put some of these sports on hold because soccer and running are taking a lot of his time (and he is in Grade 7 is a very demanding IB school), but he practices them whenever he has a chance.

-I am a Venezuelan lawyer and I love it. But law it’s not my only passion. I am also an entrepreneur getting started in the network marketing arena. I am in the middle of the muddy learning curve so bear with me.

-I volunteer in school whenever I can. I find joy in helping, even when I am not making decisions, just lending a hand makes me happy.

-I multitask, I cannot help it.

-Dealing with death and grieving has been an important theme in my life. I am learning, but it is tough. The two people I lost own an huge piece of my heart and letting them go has been of the hardest things I had to do. They also deserve separate posts.

-I love food and cooking (and eating it, at least that is what the scale clearly says).

-I miss my mom like crazy but have high hopes that things will change soon and she will be very close to us.

Wow this has been a long post and I could write forever. Anyway, I hope this summary gives you a good idea of us. I write about any and everything and I am hoping that you stay and share a laugh, a tear and some love.

 

 

Cae la coraza

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Quizás sea la luna llena que me tiene un proceso de introspección, o la situación del país en donde vivo, o los muertos y heridos acumulados, o el susto del sábado en la Danubio, o quién sabe qué, pero tengo el alma en un hilo, siento que la coraza que me protege en momentos de crisis se está desmoronando.

Y no le tengo miedo a mis sentimientos, a mi tristeza, a mi humanidad, sé que lo necesito en momentos como este es darme cuenta de cómo van cayendo esos pedazos de la coraza uno a uno y no tratar de pegarlos ni recogerlos sino dejarlos caer hasta encontrarme con la crudeza de mis emociones, para aceptarlas, vivirlas, llorarlas, gritarlas y honrarlas.

Lo que me preocupa o me da miedo es que ese proceso usualmente me exige un espacio y un tiempo adecuado y en estos días de trabajos inflexibles, de emociones a flor de piel y de un país que pide a gritos atención es difícil encontrar ese espacio.

Es que además las emociones me invaden cuando y donde menos me lo espero, las ganas de llorar se convierten rápidamente en lágrimas que más que drenar, intentan borrar toda la crueldad, injusticia y el miedo que mis ojos han presenciado recientemente.

Siento que la mismísima piel se vuelve más frágil, más delgada y lo que separa mi esencia, mi alma, de todo lo que me rodea es cada vez más débil. Es que se me hace imposible mantenerme separada del entorno, me fundo con el todo que me rodea, incluso con la desesperación, el desasosiego y la desesperanza. 

¿Por qué yo marcho mañana?

Invito a todos mis amigos en Caracas a marchar mañana. Sé que muchos están cansados de hacerlo o consideran que con las marchas no logramos nada. Los entiendo, yo también me he sentido así.

Pero en esta oportunidad las circunstancias son distintas. Algo de lo que hemos venido haciendo desde el 12 de febrero está dando resultados. La cohesión y continuidad en las protestas tiene al Gobierno preocupado y con miedo, el régimen se tambalea. Solo así se explica la radicalización de la censura a los medios nacionales e internacionales, los ataques a verbales y no verbales a los funcionarios consulares y representantes de otros países, el empeño en perseguir y atacar a los estudiantes, a quienes protestan y a quienes los lideran, las amenazas de limitar el suministro de gasolina en las zonas “fascistas”, las amenazas de hacerle juicio en ausencia a los que protesten y limitarles la obtención de pasaportes, las torturas a las que se han sometido a nuestros estudiantes y protestantes.

Todas estas son algunas de las evidencias del miedo y desespero de este régimen. Es por eso que hay que mantener las protestas pacíficas (lo cual no significa inacción) y mostrarle a nuestros incansables estudiantes que Venezuela completa los apoya. La mejor manera de hacerlo es desbordar las calles mañana.

Cada uno de nosotros cuenta, cada uno de nosotros es un granito de arena y tenemos el compromiso de salir a demostrar nuestra inconformidad con todo lo que este régimen representa y a rendir un homenaje a los estudiantes y líderes que personalmente se sacrifican y exponen por recuperar a Venezuela, así como a los jóvenes caídos en estos días recientes.

Yo no puedo permanecer indiferente y estoy segura que ustedes tampoco!

Me Quito el Sombrero

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Este post comenzó como un status update de FB, para y por mi Chino. Pero resultó ser tan largo que decidí convertirlo en post.  

Chino bello:

Cada vez que te veo enfrentar un reto, dentro de mi corazón siento confianza porque te he visto superar algunos que a más de uno que conozco se le pararía el corazón nada más de pensarlo. Al mismo tiempo, siento un miedo gigantesco de que no lo logres, de que sientas que no eres capaz y que tu auto-estima, que aún está en proceso de curación, se lleve un golpe fuerte.

Aunque siempre escucho que debemos confiar en las capacidades de nuestros hijos, yo no puedo dejar de sentir miedo porque no puedo, ni quiero, olvidarme de tu historia personal, porque no eres infalible y porque los retos a los que te enfrentas son a veces bien rudos.

Pero siempre, siempre, me sorprendes y dejas maravillada. Porque puede que un día des uno o varios pasos hacia atrás. pero al siguiente me sorprendes con un salto agigantado hacia adelante. Y como te dije Michi, de eso se trata la vida, de mejorar y de crecer, de entender que si nos caemos, we stand up and keep going.

Yo quiero declarar mi admiración por ti, por tu fortaleza de carácter y espíritu, por tus ganas de aprender y de vivir, por tu capacidad para llorar cuando aparece un reto que pudo más que tu, tu humildad para decir “es que es me cuesta mami” pero tu perseverancia para levantarte y decir, yo sí puedo y voy a tratar de nuevo.

Yo estoy orgullosa de que conociendo tu historia personal y tus limitaciones, no decidas convertirlas en excusas ni muletas sino que decidas demostrarte a ti mismo, a mi y a todo quien quiera verlo, que tu vas siempre a dar lo mejor de ti y ese empuje te ha llevado a conquistar y lograr en tus 11 añitos de vida, cosas que muchos adultos no han podido alcanzar.

Keep going baby and remember to always shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Tu fan N°1.