My mother is…
It's 5am on Saturday May 21st, 2016 and I just sat here for the past 15 minutes watching the cursor blink. My mind get noisey, trying to describe the best way to complete this sentence. I picture and endless list of words going down a page but I can pinpoint the one I want to start this story. My mother is…my mother is….my mother, Lucy Narvaez, is….
My mother is beautiful. Her smile taught me what the phrase “her smile lit up the room.” Truly meant. Her dark brown rarely got down to her shoulders as I grew up with her and always stayed perfectly tucked behind her ears. Her hair became straighter as she got older. In the pictures I found of my mother in her 20’s she had curly light brown hair that most people kill to have. The same curly, light brown hair that covered my head when I was a little girl. My mother has the big brown eyes that have a light blue ring around them. Through the years I've seen those eyes filled with love, anger, sadness and happiness and I could spot those eyes anywhere in the room. They're the eyes that lit up when I told my mom that I had been published in a major magazine. They are the eyes that stayed stern as I tried to challenge my mother when I was younger. They are the eyes that filled with tears and then flashed with anger as I told my mother and told her that I had been beaten by a man I loved. Seconds later, they were the eyes that filled with love, empathy and warmth. They were the big, beautiful brown eyes that let me know they everything was going to be ok.
My mother is patient and wise. When I was a teenager I moped around the apartment wrapped in my angst and questioned why my life filled with the crazy drama of boys, friends and other 16 year old woes that seem like the end of the world. When I wasn't sad I was adventurous to a fault, constantly challenging the rules my mother set. At the time, I truly felt my mother was just trying to ruin my fun. When I look back now I look at my mother in awe and wonder. This woman did not turn her back on me when I was cruel and rebellious. When I gave her reasons to hate me, she loved me. When I pushed her away, told her I hated her, screamed at her and fought her on everything, she stayed calm, held me close and gave me advice that I didn't understand as a teenager but I use today. I admire her patience with me and consider her a modern day Saint for it.
My mother is intelligent. The kind of intelligent that doesn't threaten you, but encourages you to learn more. The first in her family to go to college, my mother worked in the education system for 31 years and even now, in her “retirement”, she continues to teach a bilingual education program for future generations to use and flourish with. She encouraged me to write and express myself in ways that spoken words could not convey. She brought out my passion to be curious and to ask questions. Some of my best memories with her are of staying up late night with almost all lights off in the apartment watching the lunar eclipses. Each hour she would have me draw what the moon looked like until eventually it was completely black. The next day my mother would treat me to a day at the planetarium, where we would soak up as much information we could about the moon and discuss it over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in Central Park. I know it's impossible to say someone knows it all but I feel like my mother knows it all and if there is something she's unsure of, she'll make it her job to change that uncertainty to certainty.
My mother is loving. She not only raised my sister and I (9 years apart, a feat I still commend her for) but she watched over my half brother and cousins as well. She brought in her niece as her other daughter raised her as she would one of her own. My mother is a lifeline, a rock, to each of us in such different ways. She's the woman we all know and love but who she is for each of us is different. She has welcomed each of our husband’s to the family and has been excited for three new sons to love and cherish. She has loved her husband, my father, for 34 years now (this is where my father would chime in “34 LOOOONNNNNNNGGGGG years.”) she has been a loving daughter even when the going, like right now, gets tough. She is a loving sister, keeping her brother’s memory alive even after they have passed.
It truly amazes me that so much love can fit into this petite Puerto Rican woman. This stylish woman, who will dance to Outkast’s “Hey Ya” or Pink’s “Get The Party Started” at any chance she gets. Who spends her Monday night's with milanos, milk and RuPaul's Drag race. The woman who showed me how overcome a phobia and went from shaking from fear anytime she saw a dog to becoming almost as big of a puppy lover as me. I'm honored and humbled to be the daughter of someone so incredible, who brightens the day of every single person she meets. A lot of times, when I'm introduced to people as Lucy’s daughter, I get a reaction somewhere along the lines of “look at little Lucy! Your mother is one of the best people I've ever met, do you know that?” I use to get embarrassed and shy away. Now I just confidently look the person in the eye and say “I do. She's incredible.”
My mother can't just fit into one word, I don't even know why I tried. She's just one of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am blessed to be able to have this magical woman as my role model, my confidant and above all else, my mother. I have big shoes to fill as a woman and mother in my own life but I'm lucky to have had such a good example for all of these years.
Happy birthday mom, you're truly one of a kind.