I Remember

June 19, 2018 12:50 pm

Summer session for soccer started a few weeks ago and 2kicks loves it! I mean she is into it, big time! And she’s not bad at it either. She gets competitive and a little rough, which I hate (but secretly love! Cause F*** YEAH!), but she pays attention, follows directions, knows where the goal is and she can run for a long time. She gets that from Double O (sister in law). The last class session wasn’t like this.

The first class this session she had to go up against another kid and try to steal the ball and score. Then they both had to sit down. The other kid beat her to the goal, 2kicks got upset and wouldn’t return the ball. She kept running around even after several calls from her coach. She wouldn’t answer to anybody for a few minutes. So I got up and walked on the field. She scored her goal before I reached her, then tried to run back to the monkey house. I called her to the side, got down on one knee and said, between my teeth,

“You will listen to your coach. If I have to come in here again, we are going home! Do you understand me?!”

She nodded yes.

After the session, I sat her on one of the side benches. I could tell she knew I was upset. I gave her water and her snack. She sat there enjoying it.

“Do you like soccer?” I asked her and she nodded.

“Do you like your coach? Coming to play with your friends?” I asked her and she nodded, again.

“I’m glad. But coming here is a privilege,” I said and she looked at me.

“I don’t have to bring you here. I don’t have to get you in the car to come here so you can have fun. I’d much rather stay home and hang out.” She said nothing.

“If you behave like this again, we are not coming back. Your coach is there to teach you. Your friends are learning with you. Sometimes they win, sometimes you win. And you cannot get upset. You cannot stop listening to your coach. I refuse to make all of the effort to bring you here just to get upset. Do you understand me?!” She nodded.

Then she started crying and I remembered that she’s four… FOUR! What the hell is wrong with me?!?

I consoled her, explaining that she has to listen to instructions and follow directions, and that the coach only needs to call her once. She felt better after a little bit and we went home. Guilt…

For a few years, when I was little, we lived in Puerto Rico. It’s a long story of how we ended up there, but we did. Circa 1989. That same year, the island got hit with Hurricane Hugo. It was devastating to the island because all hurricanes are. We lived in a house very close to the beach, but not close enough, so we didn’t have to evacuate. The house was a one story house, with a very common Caribbean Island style architecture that included an ornamental concrete wall. We couldn’t move it, and it had holes all over it, like most of them do. For the record, as kids we all thought that this idea was awesome: in her infinite wisdom, my mother decided to hang a curtain on the wall, put a twin size bed against it, with a rocking chair on top. We spent the storm taking turns on the rocking chair so we could watch the storm through the wall. It was fun! The rest of the time we came up with little dance routines to perform for our mother. Who in turn, almost burned the house down trying to make us hot cocoa! We survived. Then the storm passed with no major damage to the house and we were without power for about two weeks.

Here’s the thing. Water in Puerto Rico is expensive, very. A single mother of four, barely getting by, couldn’t really afford fresh water, at least not full time. So my mother somehow got a hold of something called a pillo. A ‘thief’. It was a little tube that she would put on the meter in the middle of the night, some weekends. We still got water, but the meter wouldn’t be running.

Since we were so close to sea level our water came back right away, but people living in neighborhoods up the hills and mountains did not. After a few days, the situation became desperate. My mother did the only thing that occurred for her to do: she installed the pillo, grabbed the water hose and began filling up five gallon water barrels for people. I remember there was a line of families waiting for my mother to fill up their barrels while we played outside with the other kids waiting with their families. Some of the neighbors gathered up and were helping. I remember that not long after, a truck from Acueductos (Aqueducts department) with two men showed up. Flashing their lights. I don’t remember the exchange, but I’ve heard my mother tell it and it went something like this:

“¡Señora! ¡¿Que esta pasando?! ¡¿Usted que esta haciendo?!” The driver said sternly.

“¿Que esta pasando? ¡Que esta gente no tiene agua! ¡¿O usted no ve los niños esperando?!? ¡En ves de venir a gritar, por que no van a arreglar la situacion! ¡Que te pasa! ¡Haci no se puede Chico!” She answered loud and authoritative. Everything and everyone had stopped to watched the interaction. Without looking at the people waiting, the man said

“Ok, señora, continue.” He looked at the other guy and said “Ayudala.” And they both started helping.

I didn’t grow up with a lot of privileges. We’re immigrants. My mother was a single mother with four children. I remember being four or five years old, early in the wee hours of the morning, before dawn, with my mother and my sister waiting in line for W.I.C. During the winter in the Bronx. I remember waiting in government buildings for what seemed hours, for public assistance. I remember my mother working shitty minimum wage jobs to help put food on the table, and still try to learn English. My mother is not a bad person.

My friend the Writer and I have been depressed by what’s happening at the border. We’ve donated money, called our representatives and I have to find out how to send care packages. If I think about it for more than a few minutes, I’ll start crying. So much so, that the husband doesn’t want me reading anything more about it. Almost two thousand kids separated from the only person they know in the strangest of places, speaking a language they don’t understand, after spending who knows how long traveling here, in the worst of conditions. Because there’s so much violence and hunger in their own country, that they would rather gamble their lives than stay were they are. My kid lost her shit when I asked her to listen to her soccer coach. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to console any of these kids. My heart breaks at the thought of any of this.

I remember being at those state and federal buildings, feeling scared and horrible, not knowing what was happening or when. But we had our mother there and I had my sisters. At some point, this would be over, we were going back home and I would be sleeping next to my family. I can’t put myself in any of those kids shoes. I can’t imagine anybody ripping 2kicks out of my arms. Because I remember.

I read the comments on some of the articles, and I’m outraged and saddened at what some people take the time to type out. The hateful words thought out by some ignorant deplorable. The justifications that they come up with along with blame game, whataboutism, and lies. Oh boy the lies after lies. How can anybody believe anything this administration has to say? How can anybody think any of this is ok? How can they justify this citing the Bible? How can you listen to babies crying for their mother and make jokes? Ann Coulter called them “child actors.” How can anybody be so evil?

The deplorables are out of their minds. They have removed themselves from the reality that is this world. The racism, xenophobia, mysoginy and ignorance that runs rampant in the veins of those who supported this administration its what got us here. Nobody can pretend to be shocked or surprized with these actions. We all watched Donal Trump coming down the escalators, with Melania. We all listened as he portrayed all Mexicans as rapists and murderers. This is what they want. This is what they voted for. This is what they think is great.

Some of my family members supported and still defend this administration.

Here’s something happy…