April Family

April is a special month because both of my parents were born in April. It’s interesting for me to think about growing up in a household (as a Gemini) with a ram (my mother) a bull (my father) and two scorpions (the twins). In any case, astrology aside, today is my mom’s birthday and the best way I know how to celebrate her is by describing who she is, by way of her actions.

Upon a quick google search, characteristics of her zodiac actually do a great job of describing her, but don’t worry, those of you not sold on the science of astrology, I will expound on these shortly: determined, fiery, executive skills, born leader, impulsive, headstrong, opinionated, loyal, physical, driven, ambitious.

“My actions are my only true belongings.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh

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Mother with many hands

 

Jean skirt, copper buttons down the front

made it herself

hoe in hand, digging furrows in the soil

planting the tried and true seeds: lechuga, acelga, repollo [1]

experimenting with tastier seeds: sandía, zapallo [2]

hose in hand, nurturing the garden

 

Sewing machine between capable arms

foot on the pedal, moving forward, always forward

crafting us kids matching outfits

even though they would be hidden behind guardapolvos [3]

 

Mateando [4] with our adoptive tios and abuela next door

A knitting needle in each hand, prototyping the next

vest for dad

a sweater for one of the kids

 

Sweating in the heat of the hot chaqueño [5] days

in the kitchen making

family favorites from Ohio

egg noodles with mashed potatoes and gravy

or adopting new recipes and creating versions of empanadas no one had ever tasted before

 

Taking the goat milk from the milkman each week

she on the dirt road, he perched in his sulky [6]

receiving the milk handed down from his rickety roost

emptying the liquid contents enclosed in old wine bottles–

she made yoghurt

in a land where there was only liquid yogur, in hard plastic bags, that she poured on her muesli

with less ganas [7] than her creation that could be spooned quite satisfactorily.

 

Science projects with her kids:

Making piñatas in the laundry room

Raising our own ducks and chickens

Keeping bees, until my dad and the old mallard were stung

pretty hard

 

Always with her hands.

Woman of many hands—Mom.

 

[1] Lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbage

[2] Watermelon, squash

[3] Lab-coat like garments used in Argentina as school uniforms and worn on top of school children’s clothing

[4] The act of sharing mate together; drinking mate

[5] The Chaco province in Argentina is where we lived for a time

[6] Pronounced [sewl key]: a little carriage, used to carry one or two passengers, and as a transport method in rural areas.

[7] Determination, resolve, or will to do something.

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