July Preoccupations Revisited

Hamilton .. Lin-Manuel Miranda .. Walter Mercado .. Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado .. Puerto Rico .. astrology .. children’s literature .. growing things (noun + verb) .. inflection points .. self-care .. family .. comfort food .. coloring, crayons, colored pencils .. chalkboards, chalk .. J– and S–, harmonizing

My half-siblings called the maternal grandmother we shared Grandma Toes because, I think, she painted her toenails bright colors. We called her Pati. I don’t know why. From what I can gather, that’s not a common Spanish term for grandmother. But titi is aunt so. Close I guess. Maybe somebody couldn’t pronounce Tati. I don’t know. She died when I was three or four. I’m supposed to be trying to write a family essay and my preoccupation with Puerto Rico and my family’s roots there has gone fallow but I don’t want it to. So much of that past is disappeared. It was never revealed to me or else I didn’t pay close enough attention. So, like, an entire heritage in language that stopped with my mother it’s gone and it feels like I never had a chance to live inside it, to let it inhabit me. I had a flash of anger as I wrote that. My mother hoarded something, kept it for herself. An entire language. A whole new and other tool for getting familiar with my mind. That feels whiny, less than fair. But it still makes me mad. And hurt. There was a massive part of herself she didn’t want me to access. She wanted me to know about it, even be proud of it. But it belonged to her. It was her story, her native tongue, not mine. Our parents are real people. They make human choices. They puzzle us, leave us guessing. How will I do this to my son? Will he understand? Will he forgive me? Will he someday, long after I’m gone, do what he can to put the puzzle together?

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