Yes, there are many things that I remember people have said to me in my life. Sayings that stick with me. Words, phrases and entire conversations that have been shared with me embedded in my memory are threads of thought strung together. They are holding me together.
Yet there are so many things that have been left unsaid. What hasn’t been said maybe be more important than what has been said.
How many times I wished that I had said things to my abuelita before she left this earth? How I wished my mom would say things to me that she can’t. How I mulled over things I want to say to my tres hijos, but am embarrassed to. How I wished I could tell my “mean” sister to just cut it out. How I wished I could explain to my other abuela that people are sorry for all the misunderstanding.
This year, above all years, I have micro-focused on what’s really important. Life is not only short, but unpredictable. The things we have to say must be said.
This has to be one of my all-time favorite sayings. Growing up in Nashville, I learned many funny but meaningful sayings. Our dear old Pastor H always answered the questions, “Pastor, see you tomorrow?” Or “Pastor, will you be here in the morning?” with his “Well if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.” Okay Pastor H.
I sure miss my talks I had with him that one summer I worked in the church office between college years. If you asked his wife these same questions she would answer with “Well darlin’ you’ll have to ask the Pastor, because he knows best.” I always loved how she would defer to him yet he was always so positive. She would raise her eyebrows and say, “Okay, we’ll see you soon.”
It’s a funny way of not committing yet being hopeful. This crazy school year, I have often found myself thinking this saying as I walk out the door at the end of the day. Will I be back here tomorrow? Well if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I will be.
I had never heard this saying before I met the man who would be my father-in-law. I never heard it growing up in Nashville. So my English Learner brain kicked in the first time I heard it from him and asked, “He’s on his last leg? Who has one leg?” Rolling eyes and laughter followed. Over the years I heard Doc say this phrase often. Most of the time it was in jest.
“Doc I’m not feeling well.” “You’re fine. You’re not on your last leg yet.”
“Poor guy he’s on his last leg.” (meaning the dog)
“Get up and help, it’s not like you’re on your last leg or something.”
Sometimes though he said it in seriousness. He was known for his bedside manner, or rather his lack of it.
“Well you’re on your last leg, what do you expect?” To a patient who’s complaining but really sick.
This is one of those sayings that my tres hijos say ALL the time. “Hey like grandpa would say, you’re on your last leg.” This past year after foot surgery, I got it a lot. “No worries, ma, I’ll get it for you, since you’re on your last leg, hahaha!”
I think grandpa is in heaven laughing every time we say it!
“Quieres juete?” It’s hard to imagine that my abuelita, Titita, the shining light in my life would actually threaten me with words like that. her dicho (saying). Why I acted so badly sometimes under her care, I just don’t know! If I could tell my 6, 7, 8, 9 year old self to be good, to listen, to obey and not question, I would! I no doubt would!
I loved her more than the sun. I loved her even though she carried that thick, brown, ugly belt around her neck. YEP! She did. My sweet, 4’10” abuelita would walk around with that belt hanging around her neck, ready to be yanked off at a seconds notice and used as a disciplinary tool. Did I deserve it? Probably. Well, I wouldn’t do that to my own darling boys, BUT I definitely told them about it!!! The tres hijos definitely deserved it from time to time, but they never had to learn the feeling of cold leather on the back of their legs.
Titita’s saying “quieres juete” was enough to make me stand straight in a half-second. NO WAY did I want any juete. EVER. But those few times that she didn’t threaten me first but just went to the shockingly sudden slap of hard leather on the back of my legs. I will never forget that feeling. Dios mio! My God! She must have been really mad at me!
Those words, her dicho, she meant them. Yet, I loved her SO much.
This year is extraordinary and the things I have said! I laugh out loud sometimes after my class.
Honey, can you put your baby sister down? I don’t think you can write and hold her safely.
Hang up. When you’re done talking to your mom, rejoin please.
Can you please tell your mom, you’re in class?
…..Umm, turn your camera off NOW
If you keep unmuting and burping, I’ll remove you from the class.
Please stop spinning in your chair with the chrome.
No thank you, I said no thank you! (Remove)
So she only has 2 hours on this app for the entire year. Since she should have close to an hour a week, she should have about 22 hours on this app. (shocking to actually say that).
I definitely do not like some of the things I have had to say. What’s acceptable and appropriate is so vastly different this year. What have you said that was unusual?
Even though it’s been Y E A R S, what my dad used to say to me and my siblings haunts me. Why? Because I keep repeating it! I repeat it not just to myself but to my three loving hijos, Why? Well, I spit it out at them now because sometimes it just really makes sense! It comes out of me, like I can’t help it. SO I say it to them. Again. and Again. Ugh! Dad, why did you have to teach me, “Procrastination is the assassination of motivation.”??? It’s so irritatingly true. I love this saying and hate it at the same time. When I say it to my hijos, I say it as a joke, so that it doesn’t sting so badly. But my dad, he would say it with that tone of “I told you to do that yesterday.” When he said it, it was because he was annoyed with me for doing something late or not having done my homework yet, or taken the dogs for a walk, or watered the garden or cleaned the kitchen or talked to my teacher about something. Still, I’m thankful, because when I feel lazy or think “I’ll do that later.”, that accursed saying sits on my shoulder whispering in my ear. “OKAY! Fine! UGH! I’ll do it now.” Things get done. Thanks dad.
Do you remember that saying that your dad would always say? Or maybe it’s that funny thing your grandma would say to lighten things up?
There are things that my dad, my father or mother-in-law and my Titita (grandma) would say, that just stick in my head and I find myself repeating them out loud or in my head. All of these “sayings” or “dichos” (in Spanish) I feel help make me who I am. A teeny piece of others’ thinking has helped mold me into the person I am. Those sayings are my supports. When I feel anxious, sad, worried, uncertain, excited or happy – one of these sayings pops into my head. What’s so great about them is that, I have shared these sayings with others, mainly my boys throughout the years. “Your abuelo always says, ….” Or “That’s like grandpa used to say ….”. The people I love most that have shared time with the other people I love or loved also carry these sayings with them. These sayings are their supports now as well. So when I say one of these dichos, my loved ones laugh or say “right!” They have that connection with these words. But these aren’t just words, they’re our supports that give us strength or provide meaning in a difficult time.
Sometimes, I search for a saying that would fit the occasion, other times, it just comes out so easily and clearly. Repeating these sayings brings people that are not of this earth anymore back to life in my mind. Amazingly, my own sons, now say them as well. They may not have heard the saying “straight from the horse’s mouth”, so to speak, but they know it conveys meaning and that our family has a connection with the saying. It’s like this invisible common thought thread that flows between us, someone is always bound to pull it down and out of their mouth to share it again. These things we say, that have been passed on, can bring laughter or feelings of comfort, joy, or sadness. What saying will you pass on?
What I learned in this month long challenge is that I actually enjoy writing! I didn’t think I did. I haven’t ever done any writing like this challenge before and was unsure of how it would go. I thought I would struggle each day with what to write and that it would take me a long time to write it.
Instead, it was really fun writing! I enjoyed putting down my thoughts each day and really focusing on one small slice. Since teaching writing, I have been more cognizant of including dialogue and found that I really enjoyed using it in my writing. How I wish I had known this earlier, like in college or even in high school. I also realized that I like finding atypical synonyms for common place words and using figurative language. It was a challenge but fun.
It was also surprisingly enjoyable to read so many other posts. There were so many different writing styles – it was very interesting. I enjoyed the snippets into peoples lives that really made me realize that we all go through such similar things in our lives.
Thanks for making this adventure so interesting! Happy April!
Last night I spoke with El Grande, the oldest of my 3 hijos.
“Ma, this project is consuming me. It’s all I do or think about. But on top of it all I have these lab reports to write and tests to study for.”
“How can I help mi amor? I feel badly for you. I wish I could help.”
“There’s nothing really you can do. It’s just frustrating because I don’t have time for anything. I want to work out and cook some food for me and the guys but I don’t have any time. I have no time for any of it.”
“Ok well how about next weekend, I’ll drive down. I’ll bring groceries amd some pre-made meals. I want you to eat healthily.”
“Yea that’d be great, ma, thanks. I just need to get through the next couple of weeks.”
“No problem mi amor, if I can help with food, it’s one less thing for you to worry about.”
It’s cliche but no matter how old your kids are, you want to help them and be there for them.
On the way home from my trip I had to take the train from city to my town. I chose to sit up top. I hadn’t ridden the train in ages! After sitting awhile, I had another flashback memory.
I’m young, single and taking the train home after working downtown all day. I had raced to the train, in the summer sun, so I arrive all gross and sweating. The train is cool. It starts to pull out of the station and I’m still panting. I look around and see others struggling to get settled, same as me. Some people have been shopping and have several bags to squeeze into their seat area. But most people, like me, are returning home from work.
I remember looking out the window watching everything go by. I play a game with myself like “find something new”, “count all the blue cars” or “count how many people are walking”. But I’m so tired and I start to doze. I really should be reading to prep for my night class but I’m not that motivated to read a statistics book. Im really tired and without any notice my eyes shut tight.
The next thing I remember is being woken up and nearly having a heart attack! “Hey Miss, isn’t 103rd your stop?”
“Oh geez, yes! Thanks! Where are we?” I have foggy nap brain. Nothing looks familiar.
“107th is only next stop.” The conductor chuckles, gives me a smile but shakes his head at me. I look out the window.
“Oh right! Thanks” I’m embarrassed because now I recognize the apartments, the park, the parking lot and the back of the shops along Hale. It’s a big city but the my train community is small. I sit in this guys train car every day. Thank goodness he recognizes me.
I feel badly now that in 2 years I never called him by name. He was a really nice guy. Today I did not fall asleep on the train!