Category Archives: family

Father’s Day Tribute to the Men in my Family

 

Picture2Dad: A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love.

The fathers in my family are called Dad, Daddy, and Papi. Newsflash: None are perfect! But each one represents love, courage, provision, and strength. Their eyes glow with purpose. Their smiles melt hearts. Their chest swells with pride. Their callous hands protect. They stand tall with dignity. And their embraces offer comfort and assurance. Yes, they are the pillars in our households.

It’s said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes. I don’t know if that’s true. I only know that each man represented in my family strive to being the very best possible. Each hold a mantle and carry a torch for the next generation. Each dad represented in my family lays a solid foundation, even those who have crossed over to the other side. I can’t help but to think about my own grandfathers. They were strong, respected dedicated men with a constant presence. They left behind a legacy. When the tough got going, they didn’t cave under pressure. They persevere with Puerto Rican pride in every fiber of their being.

To the men in my family who are dads (and have yet to be): I love and admire each and every one of you. And to my dear husband who married me with four children, I share this quote: “It takes a strong man to accept somebody else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.” I salute you.

I salute you all.

Remember: Any man can be a father. But it takes a special person to be a dad.

© M.A. Pérez, 2018, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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Filed under children, family, Father's Day, parenting, Tribute to Fathers

Isn’t He Beautiful?

Build me a son, O Lord,
who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;
one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishbone will not be
where his backbone should be;
a son who will know Thee—and that
to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,
but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.
Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm;
here, let him learn compassion for those who fall.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high;
a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men;
one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep;
one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his,
add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor,
so that he may always be serious,
yet never take himself too seriously.

Give him humility, so that he may always remember
the simplicity of true greatness,
the open mind of true wisdom,
the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father [and mother], will dare to whisper,
“I have not lived in vain.”

~ General Douglas MacArthur

 

So, we just celebrated my son’s 34th birthday. After asking him what would he like to do or where would he like to go to celebrate, he shared that he simply wanted to be with family and wanted to celebrate at home. Such a humble request and oh, what a joy in fulfilling that request. Because you see, Mama needed some respite too. We get so caught up in the blowing and going that we can minimize and forget the small stuff. Let’s face it, we are busy people. We can become too focused on counting the days instead of making the days count.

I prepared his favorite meal of lasagna and Cherry Food Cake for dessert. We visited, laughed, acted like goof-balls while entertaining one another (see the video), and took some cool photos. We made more memories to cherish a lifetime. I treasure each and every heartbeat represented in my family – close and very dear to my own heart.

Thank you for allowing me to continually share my journeys with you.

 

 

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

© M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

 

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February 25, 2016 · 7:16 PM

Through My Lens

Picture1As I reflect upon my vacation this year, I center on the glitter to the glue of my family. The stuff that makes them glow through difficult circumstances, yet, not fall apart. It is the Strength in their sails,
the Laughter through the tears, and the Lightanchornew in the darkness. The waves may beat on the boat called Life, but their faith in God is the anchor that
keeps them from drifting afar.

Through my lens, I observed how one remains playful and young at heart, can laugh at themselves silly and enjoy the simple things in life.
14923_10204703715180608_5675463751065842269_n 10600375_10204703715860625_6913583592732597383_nThrough my lens, I saw how one so small can love so big; remain warm and engaging, loveable without reservations.10556236_10204728125950862_5977327558787419493_n

Through my lens, I noticed that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going! They refuse to sit down, roll over or give up on life. They know tomorrow is on the horizon, another day for new beginnings.10374430_10204728701285245_6597456912167368273_n

10559740_10204703690339987_8489302758064957017_nThrough my lens, I observed that age is just a number; it doesn’t mean that one ceases to exist, to learn, or to do.10606108_10204704812728046_6739570265579190164_n

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Through my lens, I got to witness such amazing selfless love. The sacrifices and serving of others: putting themselves last, while thinking of others first.

10436271_10204678200342753_1091761609782845600_nI heard the cry of their heartbeat. Thump. Thump. Compassion. Thump. Thump. Forgiveness. Thump. Thump. Passion. Thump. Thump. Sincerity. Thump. Thump. Tenacity. Thump. Thump. Love. Thump. Thump. Puerto Rican heritage.

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What did I learn in my ten days of vacation? If I can be just one example of what it means to love and to be loved, I’ll overcome what life may throw at me. I’ll face each trial with a certainty that God is still God of the ages and He continues to work on our behalf. No matter what.

Plans don’t always work the way we think. Situations may take a different turn than what we planned. We aren’t always prepared for the what-ifs. We aren’t perfect. But we are family. And the greatest gift of all is family.

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© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Circle of Life

Once upon a time there lived a lonely girl. Intimately acquainted with an empty stomach, she carried hunger in her heart, starving for love.pic

In spite of her destitute and inner turmoil, she grew up and broke away in search for love. Eventually she’d marry and have a family of her own, never dreaming how they’d fill the void in her heart.

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In the circle of life, her little ones grew to have little ones of their own.

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She felt young at heart again, and couldn’t imagine life without them.

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And the not-so-little-girl wasn’t lonely anymore.

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The end.

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December 30, 2013 · 9:29 PM

She’s Not Tough, She’s Tenacious

At my grandparents’ home, weekends were our shopping days at Pantry Pride. Grandma pulled her two-wheel cart behind her, and Grandpa and I carried the rest of the groceries, chitchatting along the way.

“You know, young lady,” Grandpa said, “You’re going to have long legs when you grow up.”

“Are they going to be long as yours, Grandpa?” I asked, trying to keep in stride.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Will they be long as Grandma’s?”

“Well, I’ll say there’s a good chance.”

“What about Mama’s?”

“Yep. I think they’re going to be longer than your mother’s are.”

“Then I’ll be taller than her.” I skipped along thinking about it.

“Yes, yes, I think you’re right,” Grandpa chuckled.

We couldn’t walk at a fast pace on account of Grandma’s bad feet.

But one morning we left for church later than usual. Grandma insisted that Grandpa and I run on ahead to stop the bus when we saw one. We took a shortcut along the sides of the railroad tracks. Trotting over the loose gravel became tricky, but we hurried on determined to catch that bus.

“Papa,” cried a small voice. We didn’t hear that first call. The cry came again, followed by a moan. When we turned, we never imagined seeing Grandma laying facedown over pebbles and rocks. Grandpa moved with surprising agility and helped her sit up.

Grandma’s forehead bled from the fall. I cowered at the sight of so much blood. I felt sorry for her and helpless. Why couldn’t I have stayed close and given her my arm to hold onto?

Together, we walked back to the house. When we got there, Grandma limped into the bathroom and Grandpa helped her clean her face with a washcloth. To our surprise, she then insisted that we go back out.

“We are goin’ to church even if we are late,” she said.

“Aren’t you going to at least change your blouse?” Grandpa asked.

“¡No señor!” Grandma said with finality. “I’m goin’ just as I am.”

(Excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace )

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Mi Boricuan Familia

I just returned from an accelerating  week’s vacation, which was also a surprise visit to my family in Florida. Other than planning everything with my younger brother, I didn’t want any beans spilled, so I gave no clues and left no hints. My ten-year-old grandson accompanied me; his first time on a plane. He was so excited and never at a loss for words the entire flight.IMG_0624[1]

The trip and the family time together were awesome!

My first stop was at my older brother’s. The shock on his face and the familiar choice words that he uttered in seeing me were priceless. His entire household welcomed me warmly. My three tall nephews are strapping young lads. We all talked at once and managed to hear every word. Soon, my sister-in-law and I enjoyed some overdue and much-needed girl talk alone (after kicking out all the boys).

1092153_158266174363129_1689987005_oThen we drove to my dad’s home where I was greeted with more1157638_10201825671551316_948345146_n hugs, tears and kisses. (Click on the link to a video and listen to my daddy’s exclamation phrases over and over of: “¡Ay, mi madre!” as well as, “¡Ay, Dios mio!”)

Before too long, savory food waft from the kitchen calling my name. I couldn’t wait to sample my step-mother’s Puerto Rican cuisine. She did not disappoint and prepared a delicioso feast of pollo frito arroz_con_gandules(fried chicken), plátanos fritos (fried plantains), and arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas). Mmm hmm good! ¡Que rico la comida!

IMG_0694[1]My sister later drove into town (also surprising our daddy – yes, it’s in our blood) and soon we were catching up with the latest news over family, food and fashion. I got to exchanged stories with her fine son, amazed by his sharp wit, then observed he and my grandson enjoying one another’s company with the latest video game. Finally, my dad announced it was time to play dominoes, beating everyone in the game just the way I always remembered.

In the days that followed we shopped, ate to our heart’s content, spent the day at the beach, the pool, 1095099_10201755977529307_1400669289_nand shared pictures on FaceBook (a vast differencemai kai from having to pull out dusty album books like the old days). Lastly, we enjoyed taking Daddy to Mai Kai Polynesian Dinner and Show.

I wanted — needed — to be present to help celebrate my daddy’s 80th birthday that Sunday, and so grateful to be able to escape my hectic schedule to make the grand event. If not, I would have been filled with regrets. Now I have wonderful additional memories to hold onto for a lifetime.

With every visit, conversation and reminiscing, we simply picked up where we left off so long ago. It felt good to be “home” again and reunite with my boricuan familia.

And now you know where I have been this past week.PicMonkey Collage

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

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August 17, 2013 · 1:39 PM