Finally, the holidays are over!  Ummm, yea. It has taken me all of this time to finally have all the holiday paraphernalia boxed up and put away in storage!

Speaking for myself, the holidays went by happily and smoothly. No drama, no fights, no uncomfortable dinner . . . well just “poquito.” I did not have issues this year with any immediate family, ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends or any ex-in laws, and let’s not forget business related exes!   But I definitely can’t say the same for what I have observed with other people. Every year it is the same.  Holidays seem to bring out the worst in people and relationships.

My mother always said, “How can we expect peace in this world if we can’t have peace in our own families?”  I have to admit that there is much truth in her wise words. When I ask other people how the holidays went for them, they roll their eyes and say things like, “I wanted to kill my sister the entire time” or “My mother was very difficult!” or “One more day of holidays and I would have had to be placed in a mental hospital!” And, of course, I heard multiple times,  “I am glad the holidays are over!”

It’s true that familial relationships are hard.  Sometimes our friends are closer to us than our own siblings.  We can find understanding, compassion and simple friendship in others before we find it in our families so it seems.   The stories I hear about people’s in-laws are mild compared to the stories written by Stephen King!  As human beings we are such unnecessarily complicated creatures!  Most of the time we make our own situations worse than they need to be. We hold grudges from years and years ago and around Christmas times these grudges all take a bigger shape that looms over us and clouding up the festivities.  They are hidden scars, deep inside our brains and hearts and they keep us from enjoying ourselves. They leave us emotionally exhausted and we wonder what the hell is happening!

The great irony is that ultimately we all want the same things:  to enjoy ourselves, each other, to have and to be enough.

The Universe chose that I be raised in a country, city, school and family that was very Catholic.  My Christmas memories are actually very joyful ones. I remember the big nativity that we would put up in our home. I would envision what it would have been like during the time that Christ was born. I remember the grandiose and moving  Christmas Mass at Church. My school used to put up “Posadas” various nights in December. It was so festive!

But, it is not fair for me to compare those memories with what my eyes witness now as an adult.  Adulthood changes everything.  We become involved in the conflicts and the tensions.  As a kid, you are oblivious to this. As adults, we have the pressure of being responsible for the presents, holiday dinners and decorations. We have to make a decision if we are going to do the Canyon Rd walk or not?Or just the lights on the Plaza or dinner first?  Or dinner after?  Should we go to midnight mass? No time? Where should we open presents?  In the car in between one dinner and another?!  It’s too cold out to walk. I don’t have the right shoes like you but I am hungry!!!!! ARGH!

Just for a minute let’s forget about all of the holiday issues.  Close your eyes and remove the holiday parties. Remove the conflicts. Remove the pressure to buy gifts. Remove any decorative decision making…..….We are 11 months from the next Christmas. Dowe want to change any of these things? You know what?!  I don’t think so!  It wouldn’t be the Holidays if we didn’t have all that.  It is what is!  Just embrace and enjoy!

For very personal reasons, I love the month of August. I love the way the word sounds, very breathy and sexy.  I love the even, round design of the number 8 (especially coupled with the number 20). I love the weather we get in Santa Fe during this month- cool, crisp mornings, hot sun in the middle of the day, overcast and cool in the afternoon, temperate in the evening…. Perfect for outdoor conversations.  I even love the history of the word “August” as it derives from the Latin word, “Augustus,” which means great and venerable.  It sounds so royal and important to me.   In fact, in 8 BC, the Roman State honored Augustus Caesar, the First Roman emperor, by changing the name of the month from “Sextilis” (the sixth month in the Julian calendar) to “Augustus,” (now known as the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar).  Ha!  Just a little history for you!

But I’ll be honest.  The real reason why I love the month of August is because it is when my birthday falls!  I am a Leo through and through after all!  I get to celebrate my birthday all month long which I often DO though it wasn’t always like that.  Sometimes I think I am making up for all the birthdays that I wasn’t able to celebrate as a child.  You see, when I was a kid we barely made note of birthdays in the family.  We couldn’t because there were too many of us!!

Still, not celebrating my birthday did NOT make me feel unwanted.  I knew that when the 20th of August came around, my parents were grateful and celebratory in their own way.  After my Mother’s second child, she had a miscarriage and the doctors told her that she would never have children again.  My parents continued trying (as you naturally do).   Being told they could have no more children made them desperately WANT to have more…. and poof, I was born!  My parents told me that they saw me as a miracle (I am a Leo) and that is why they named me Guadalupe after the Virgin Guadalupe.  Apparently, the doctors were wrong because my mother ended up having seven children total!  And believe it or not, we are ALL still alive.   I actually believe that is a miracle in and of itself!

I am not ashamed to say that I make a big deal out of my birthday!  Why not?!  I LOVE it!  I love receiving calls from all over the world from the people I love.  This fills me with warmth and joy.  I am not shy about it!  When my father was alive, he would always be the first to call me on the day of my birthday.  I loved it.  It would set the tone for the day!  After he passed away, my oldest sister took on that role of being the first to call and wish me goodness on my birthday.  I am always so grateful for everyone that takes the time to call me, share cake with me or even to take a shot of tequila with me on my birthday!  I am lucky.

Still, to this day, like anyone else . . . . there’s always that one person that I need to call me.   For some reason it means SO much to me to hear from this singular person and it can make or break my day if I don’t.  This person is my son.  He is my world!  Of course, he is.  That is what our kids are to us!  I can have all the celebration and companionship in the world but if my son is not there or not part of it, I cannot enjoy it as well.  Call it a Mexican thing if you want!  Ask any Mexican mother how she feels about her son calling on her birthday and she will say the same thing.  Until he calls, nothing else matters!  We are extremists maybe but we love our sons!

I remember one particular birthday, my son was living in Brazil and I was missing him very much.  I was anxiously waiting for his call.  Every time the phone would ring, I would drop everything thinking that it would be him on the other end.  Every time a bouquet of flowers was brought (Leo’s love flowers), I would open the card expecting a loving note from my son.  This birthday it was not him calling or sending flowers.  I waited, giving him time.  He was in Brazil after all and he did have a family he was attending to. I was patient.  He never did make himself apparent that day, but I clearly forgave him because I did not KILL him for not calling me!!!

The truth is that, of course, I forgave my son.  He was busy.  I am often number one on his list but I cannot always be even if we are Mexican!  We ALL get busy.  Important moments pass without celebration.  Were they that important?  What is meaningful?  Those who do show up?  Those who tried to be there?  Those who are always there but that one day they got wrapped up in their own lives?  I have matured in my thoughts and in my feelings (we eventually try to do that!) and in a sense I was very “young’” in my need to hear from my son that day.    He has his life.  He is doing his best at it.  He has (and on that day already had) his own two sons he was being present for.  He may not have not called me that day (nor sent me flowers nor a Mariachi to serenade me) but he was there for his own family.  In a way that is a gift in and of itself.

As I get older, even though it’s hard for a Leo, I TRY to be less self-centered and I try to be more of a centered self.   I try to be aware myself.  Am I being considerate with my own Mother or with my own siblings, kids and friends?  No, of course not.  I am not always the FIRST to call you on your birthday either.  I hope you forgive me.

I did make my son tattoo an 08/20 on his arm.

Just kidding!

Happy Birthday to me!  As always, please drop me a message telling me what your birthday means to you!