Mom and I over the years. First stage.
Mom and I were not very close when I was a child, or at least, that was my perception. Mom worked from 8 am to 3 pm in an office near Paseo de Montejo. There were occasional seasons where he would go out at 5 pm. Dad was the one who stayed at home, he painted, made tuna salad and picked me and my sister up at the shady corner at the elementary school exit.
After having lunch and digesting while watching The Smurfs or José Ramón Fernandez in Los protagonistas, the three of us went to look for my mother at work. With the unbearable sun, and the muggy weather only worsening the swine, my sister and I used to fall asleep in the back of the car while Daddy drove the brief 15 minutes to Mommy's office.
We waited in the parking lot cooking until we saw in the distance, on the second floor of the building, Mom always leaving the same door. I followed her with my eyes until she disappeared and suddenly she was already walking towards the car and she got in making a noise like “ufff how hot”.
I don't remember the way back home, I don't remember what we did afterward in the afternoons. Everything was changing. But I'll do a memory exercise to better understand my relationship with mom, so I'll go back a little further now.
I am almost three years old, I see my mother sitting on the green sofa in the living room, this season the furniture is attached to the window that faces the street. I see the silhouette of my sister's pregnant mom and the sky getting dark early, it must be December. My sister is born in May.
Now I am three years old and I find my newborn sister an unbearable nuisance, I am jealous, she is the new addition and deserves all the attention. I start to turn my back on mom, I don't want her to touch me, I don't want her to hug me, I let her know that I'm upset, seriously upset. I'm mean to her and I'm mean to my little sister. I do mischief on purpose to pretend and blame it on that baby. Mom feels very sad at this stage.
I don't know how old I am for sure but I don't make it to the age of six, it's night and mom lies with me in my hammock and starts to sing something to me, I don't know what she sings but I like it. He caresses my closed eyelids as he rocks the hammock. She makes me pray something about a guardian angel, I repeat her words and believe what she tells me, I feel safe and loved.
Mom works a lot, every day she sees us only when she wakes up before going to school and when she leaves her office. As always since I can remember, she is the one that brings money to the family. Dad sells his paintings and that means big but very sporadic inflows of money. So dad starts working, I don't know what, I don't remember, and that's why my sister and I spend most of the time during the week in the care of my grandmother Gloria.
Mom is washing the dishes and cleaning the house, I don't know where dad is, he must be there. The Bee Gees are playing at full volume while my sister and I play with the mop and lie on the floor to feel how cool it is, still damp from the layer of water with pinol. It must be the weekend because mom is home all day.
It's 1999, I'm six years old and I'm starting primary school at Ichcaanzihó, I write the date in the upper right corner of my notebook for each new task and dictation. I am in 1st B and my new best friend is called Cecilia Beatriz, my mom is beginning to know what kind of boys and girls I get along with. They all seem very good, we all came out on the honor roll. Mom and dad are very proud of me.
I leave primary school and a school van picks me up and other children to share each one in our respective houses, they leave me at my grandmother's house. Now Grandma Gloria bathes me, dresses me and combs my hair with glitter gel to go to my gym classes. The sun hits the room hard and while she gets me ready she tells me with that voice that I can still sing in my mind: “you're very solid”, referring to my body complexion. I don't know if that is good or bad. I finish dressing and my aunt Gloria, who lives across the patio from my grandmother's house, takes me and my cousin Esthefanny to the sports hall, she goes to her class and I go to mine, she enjoys it, she is good and she travels to compete in Tampico, I, on the contrary, do not enjoy it, they did not choose me to be in the team, I do not have the height or the weight or the desire or anything to be considered. Mom, since she left work, picks me up at the end of my classes.
Mom likes that I do "girlish" things, that I dress pretty, that I always have my hair well combed, that I be delicate and don't run, don't sweat, don't stain myself, go to catechism, don't yell and feel good, but I decide to give up gymnastics, and once and for all, any activity that has to do with dances and delicate movements of long and slender bodies, I just don't enjoy it, it bothers me to tell the truth, and I start spending every afternoon with my grandmother instead of going to some other class of that nature.
Little by little I am getting older, in elementary school I am recognized for running with the children, for being on the basketball and athletics team, for always having an injury, my knees dirty with dirt and scrapes, for tripping and hitting me. I begin to be interested in things that are not related to what my mother and grandmother would expect from a girl. I win writing and drawing contests, every year they give me another diploma for the best grade, I am an intelligent girl, but not very "feminine". Mom feels proud but a little confused. When I was barely eight years old, we started fighting because I refuse to dress and comb my hair the way she wanted, it's just that I don't feel comfortable, I don't feel like myself.
Four years pass more or less like this, until Grandma Gloria gets sick. It is at this moment that dad begins to pick Astrid and me up in the shady corner of the elementary school, it is here that the three of us begin to pass by mom to work with that unbearable sun. I'm still on the basketball team, I'm still running, my friends are just as “masculine” as I am, there are even those who call them “tomboys”, I don't understand why, I admire them a lot because they are very good athletes.
I begin to form my personality, to better understand who I am, what things I like and what I don't like, now I want to go swimming, I want to compete swimming. I begin to have more memories with mom but they are not as good or beautiful, we fight a lot, she does not think like me, she forces me, by force, against all my will to make my "first communion" in a church I never believed in , and he doesn't pay me the attention that I would like when I want to tell him something about me. I take it personally: he's not interested in my life, he doesn't want to know what I think. So I better limit myself to living with her like conventional families do, we have lunch, dinner, watch TV, go to the movies, go out to a restaurant for dinner, visit parks, she takes me to school, takes me swimming, picks me up from swimming, he buys me the clothes I need, he takes me to get my measurements taken for my uniform for the next school year, he gives me permission to go to a friend's house, he agrees with my friends' mothers, he denies me permissions, it won't let me do things that my other friends are allowed to do. I feel that "she never lets me do anything, she always scolds me, she is always upset, we always argue over nonsense, she wants me to do my hair and dress as she says, she doesn't accept me as I am."
There are flashes, Mom really tries to get along with me, she loves me, and I love her, but she can't understand that I'm not who she wants me to be. She tries to support me, and she really supports me, but it's very difficult for her to understand my way of seeing life because she doesn't see it that way. Mom loved me from the first moment I was born, mom dreamed of me, but she wasn't ready to deal with a girl like me.