In honor of Women’s History Month, I dedicate this blog to my daughters (aka ‘my girls’), Alejandra (aka Ale) & Julia (aka Jules or Juli). Ale is now 17yr old, and Juli is 15yr old.
I don’t recall too much from my youth thinking about wanting to be a mom, though once I get married, I know I immediately wanted to start a family, and the plan was to have two close in age, a few years break, and then another two. However, that wasn’t in God’s plan for me, I had a medical emergency after giving birth to my Juli, causing an emergency, life threatening hysterectomy at the age of 27. My girls are 15months apart- what can I say, I loved being prego! And they are super close with each other, I love love love observing their friendship mature.
I could go on blog after blog with adorable stories, scary moments, and funny stories about each of them, maybe when Ale turns 18 I’ll reminisce, but this blog is about them and their future, and celebrating women, viva la mujer! As mothers, we unite when it comes to worrying about our children and their future. We hope we our best is enough to get them through the elementary growth spurts, the middle school bullying, the high school adolescence, a successful higher education choice, and all while having a loving family, good health, and a balance of extracurricular activity! Right?? Ever since my girls were in pre-school through their current high school years I’ve tried to maintain their education with a balance of both academia and ‘other’ stimulating experiences, and, I feel pretty good about that. I consider them ‘well rounded’, open minded, intelligent young women.
And the bigger concern as a mother of two big hearted and gorgeous daughters? Safety and their sexuality! (I am not referring to safe sex, though that too!! I’m referring to that they are safe/protected, and that they respect themselves, understand their sexuality). I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about my upbringing, Catholic, Mexican parents of the first born daughter = strict & tight rules! So, raising Ale & Julia in ‘modern’ times (geez that makes me sound old!) has been quite the challenge to find balance of cultural values, personal values, allowing them to be independent, encouraging them to express themselves and to be true to themselves. And at the same time establishing boundaries and rules; an example of one rule they really dislike, not sleeping over at other peoples houses! (it finally has happened but with MUCH convincing and precautions!) And then probably the more important morals is that they understand and embrace self respect for themselves, and respect their bodies. With social media and media in general, teaching our youth about sex is so scary and frustrating, so much sexualizing of women- another blog topic. It’s increasingly challenging in today society to nurture teen girls to be modest, feel pretty, self confidence, and self respect. And this is where we mature women (mom, aunts, teachers, etc) need to be role models and mentors, and be positive influences on our future women leaders!
Personally, it was my mother, women from church, and the Latino community that were my role models and mentors, they had such positive impact on me, sometimes just knowing and feeling I wasn’t alone was enough! It’s important for me that my girls too have Latina role models, women whose adversities and challenges they can identify with, and it has been very proactive ambition on my part to obtain those relationships for them. And so here is my shout out to some of the successful women, Latinas from our community that have been positive influences in my daughters lives, perhaps in ways that you, nor they, even realize yet! De lo mas profundo de mi corazon, thank you, and felicidades in your life success’! Maria Isa, Elsa Vega-Perez, Graciela Mendez, Graciela Swanson-Villegas, tia Suzanne Silva, Analita Silva, Grandma (aka bubba), tia Cristina, tia Carmela, tia Rosie, Carolina Reyes, Julieta Piox, Wendy Quesada, Cyntia Osto-Resendiz, I”m certain there are more of you, you know who you are, and again, thank you for being in my girls lives!
We are in the beginning stages of college planning for Ale, and I am mix of emotions when it comes to this topic, I am excited and so ready for her to take this next step, and at the same time want to tightly hold her for dear life! Ale and Jules are doing great in school academically, I’m hopeful for their higher education options. When it comes to grades, I have always pushed them to do their best, never to settle, ask for help when needed, and not get discouraged. I’m also a huge believer in life experiences and networking as part of the development of a well rounded person, and so I have always expected my girls to be active. They have done everything from karate, dance, swim, singing lessons, instruments, volleyball, a pageant, leadership programs, camps, church youth groups, and volunteering. Their exposure and experience of their cultural heritage, Mexican, is also an element of the way they experience life, everything from the food, music, dance, immigrant concerns, first/second generation Mexican issues, assimilation, discrimination, minority and racial issues as a whole. What I love about how in their short life realities, they are maturing into the most big hearted, open minded, hard working, self motivated, independent, intelligent, talented, and loving women. My prayers and hopes are they never lose hope on a bright life, they they always choose to be the bigger person, and that they never think they can never just be themselves!
Fun stuff about Ale and Juli, they have also really developed artistically, Ale is a talented dancer and visual artist, Julia is also a talented dancer, harpist, and actress. They have a great appreciation for the arts, they embrace the importance of it, and they believe and encourage individual expression.
This blog about my daughters, wouldn’t be complete without some bragging! As part of her Spanish class, Ale recently researched and presented on Carmen Loza Garza, it’s an excellent report (got an ‘A’), and an appropriate artist for her given Carmen’s inspiration and influences as a chicana, an artist Ale can identify with: her mother, culture, childhood memories, and the Chicano Americano movement. (Learn more about Carmen art by clicking on her highlighted name)
Ale sketched this, La Belleza en Muerte, Ale is definitely an up and coming Mexican American artist ALSO influenced by her culture, traditions, and self expression, (in addition to her school art classes, she took several art lessons with local Chicano artist, muralist, Juan Acosta). Ale has many, many beautiful art pieces, I can’t wait to see how her talent will evolve in the future!
I always enjoy watching the video of her Sweet 16 surprise dance, I hope you enjoy it too. http://youtu.be/V0s_lEa7884
And as for my Julia, through elementary and middle school her thing was tap dancing and playing the paraguayan harp, and all of a sudden, high school brought out the singer and actress in her! My talented Juli playing her harp, she took lessons for about 6years with Minnesota’s only paraguayan harpist, Nicolas Carter, she has performed several times. Now, she is acting in school plays, she recently got the role at school of little Ines in Hairspray!
Click on this link to enjoy listening to Julia play her harp: http://youtu.be/jSWzxacPGS8
Click on this link to view a clip of Juli’s role in A Christmas Carol: http://youtu.be/4is_EeK0aWE
This blog is about celebrating women, in particular, my daughters, two amazing young women. My aspiration for them is to continue to grow as confident, strong, and independent women and whom will experience life and love in beautiful ways.
Like all families with teen kids, not long ago we dealt with ‘an issue’, and though I was disappointed, sad, concerned, and frustrated with the situation, after the storm settled a bit, I responded by emailing this message to my girls, it pretty much sums up the life lessons I hope they’ll always embrace. It’s brief, concise, and honest advise:
To the two people I love more than anything in life, my daughters!
Words of life advise as you are becoming increasingly independent:
Own up to your mistakes, apologize sincerely & ask forgiveness when you hurt someone, they may or may not be ready to do that, give them space then try again. It’s to have peace in your heart.
Then move on, learn from your mistakes, and refocus on being the person you want to be.
This advise is for life, not just for current situation or current age. I try to live this, we women especially need to learn to do!
It builds resilience, meaning you can bounce back from any set back!
Humbly accept consequences when you screw up, be accountable for your choices & actions.
Forgive, ask to be forgiven,learn, refocus & move forward. Love, mom.
To my daughters, the future of Women’s History. Ale & Julia, I am so proud of you, I am so amazed by you, I am always here for you, and I love you with all my heart!
Con todo mi corazon,