The following is a letter I wrote to my daughter on her 21st birthday. In essence it was a reflection of the journey we embarked on together May 13, 1992.
Tita Carmen told me when you were born, as soon as you were placed in my arms, I looked at her and asked, “Es mía, es mi niña?” You were so pure, so perfect. I couldn’t believe I deserved something so beautiful. What magic existed inside of me, that I could create such beauty?
That first night at home, you woke in the middle of the night, and through the glare of the moonlight, I could see your delicate face. Your eyes were a pair of elliptically round onyx and you gazed at me in such surrender and vulnerability, I knew taking care of you and shaping your life would be the greatest mission of my life. I don’t perceive myself as a visionary, but I know that from the moment I felt you, from the moment I met you, I had a vision for the kind of human being I wanted you to become. You have surpassed any vision I had. I am in awe of who you have become.
You opened up my heart to dimensions I didn’t think were possible. I was filled with so much anger and resentment, but you came along and I began to heal. In your presence, there was only love. I wanted to be so deliberate and purposeful in every choice I made in and for your life. I didn’t want to mess up the perfection you were (still are).
I wanted you to be educated – to know so much more about the world than I ever had, and I knew that the only means for that was through reading. So I read to you with love, and hoped that you would become so much more than I dreamed for myself. I tried to keep you away from artificial and sugary foods, so that you would learn to honor and care for your body. I spent hours hanging out with you and talking to you, so your spirit was also nurtured. I watched movies like To Wong Fu and The Color of Friendship with you, so you would understand the importance of inclusive love. Later we watched movies on Lifetime and had long discussions about domestic violence, bullying, drug abuse, self-esteem, and anything else I thought at the time you needed to learn. I wanted you to be aware of the world, but not fear it. I wanted to give you the world, and I did, literally. I wanted you to know that you weren’t the brand name clothes and make-up that this country wanted you to believe you were; but that you were wrapped in the humanity of every other person on this earth. We scraped our money together, your Tita, David and I, so that you could travel to different places around the world and experience what it means to be part of a whole.
I wanted you to become a confident woman and feel beautiful in your existence. To understand that where you came from began long before you existed in my womb. I wanted you to be proud of your heritage. Aside from Tita Carmen, who better to introduce you to than Frida Kahlo, a woman who was not afraid to live life on her own terms, exploring her sexuality, and flaunting her Mexicanismo during a time when it was a source of disdain. To my horror, the opening scene of the movie, Frida,which I took you to watch when you were nine, is a passionate sexual encounter between Frida and Diego. David and I were mortified into stillness, and figured covering your eyes would draw too much attention to us. LOL! I can’t say I always got it right, but my intention always came from a deep sense of love for you.
My vision for you was that you become a woman who would follow her heart and never compromise her happiness. That you would learn to live on your own terms regardless of what the world insisted it wanted for you, including me. That you measure your success, not by your status or accomplishments, but by your ability to be in touch with your spirit and listen to your inner voice. Most of all, my vision for you was that you see in yourself the beauty and perfection I see in you. When I see you now, I see the manifestation of the woman, the human-being, I envisioned the first time I saw into your onyx eyes.
You are now on your journey. You have your own vision to fulfill. My vision for you now is that you never stop transforming, that your heart continues to open so that you can continue to experience life whole-heartedly, that you embrace your vulnerability so that it becomes your strength, and that you continue to evolve into the highest existence of yourself. Te quiero chiquita linda. Que Dios siempre te bendiga. Feliz Cumpleanos!