The Pandemic

This picture is perfect.

Real photographers could criticize it enough, I am sure. But it is perfect, look:

This is a picture of my dad’s ultimate dream life. That’s him sitting on that chair. In the water, you can see my mom and her grandkids.

This is all my dad wants from life, he told me. He said, he just wants to sit at the beach and watch the kids grow.

What a great dream to have. So impressively achievable.

So, after we visited him in January, I decided to never let go of my dad again. Wherever the children go, he’d go. Watch them grow.

That was in January, though. We all know what happened next.

I feel like I am living in a Will Smith movie. It’s weird even writing the words “but then, the virus came”. Now, he is alone at the beach… and the 4 of us are here, quite desperate.

This pandemic made so many decisions feel urgent. Made us miss so many simple things.

As soon as we can, we are going to do all the things that we couldn’t do for so many months.

As soon as I can, I’m gonna sit at the beach with my dad.

Watch the kids grow. Never let go.

I’m not Lula Mae anymore

I think I’ve changed. Hopefully for the better, although, not entirely.

I used to think that the universe would punish me if I ever got mad at anyone. I actually googled “what would Jesus do?” at one point trying to suppress negative feelings. That’s the part where I think I’ve changed for the worse. I don’t avoid conflict as much as I used to. It has surprisingly worked in my favor, actually. Not that I am proud of it. Calling people out on their shit kinda became… necessary.

Other than becoming a worse person, I have also changed my preferences in random things dramatically!

Small towns or the city? The city! No question! That is not what 10-years-ago me would say at all, though.

I also seem to love tomatoes and onions. Something I removed from every single sandwich I had until I was probably 30.

And most of all, I don’t hate the city I grew up in. I remember why I left, but I don’t hate it at all. I remember my dreams, my wishes and the movies I watched as I imaged what my life would be like far away from that horrible beach I didn’t step foot in for good 10 years even though it was figuratively across the street. I remember hating it so much.

Now, I love it there. I love the simplicity of the people. I love the food. I love the heat. The water is healing.

I guess I only had a certain amount of hate available in my body and I ended up redirecting it. Using it all up toward certain people.

Probably a fair trade. My beach never hurt anyone.

My dad and my girls, walking down the beach in a not-so-hot summer day. Brazil, January 2020.

Letter to myself

I found a letter I wrote to myself 5 years ago. Apparently, I’ve been this dramatic for a very long time.

Dear future me,

Beyond all the crying, the screaming and them not doing what you tell them to, there’s a moment you visit from time to time as a parent. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, you cannot sleep. You don’t want to. Because you are holding your baby. Sleeping  in your sore, tired arms. Nothing in the world can make you let go.

The babies are there to remind you that everything is ok and that you’re the luckiest person in the world, because you are their parent.

You think far away thoughts like “I’m gonna miss you when you go off to college, little ones.” … because you know time flies. You’ve seen it happen before. You know you are gonna miss these babies holding your legs and stretching those little arms in your direction begging you to hold them. The little faces they make.

You know they won’t be doing that for long. When was the last time you hugged your parents and let time fly by? Do you even remember? I bet your mom misses her baby too.

In a couple years your arms won’t be so sore and you’ll get a lot more sleep… and you’ll miss these days. You’ll miss being the only person in the world your babies need to be happy.

You’ll miss having them home. Sleeping over your tummy.

I’m sorry I can’t freeze time for you, honey. I do not have the power to bring you back to this moment , years from now when you’re finally feeling this… but I can tell you one thing: Even though this moment, mid-night September 10, 2015 is gone, you are one lucky girl for having lived it.

All the best,

A younger you.