Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the tag “#Mexico”

The Other Woman

Well, let’s out with it: there is another woman in our relationship. That’s OK, there’s another man, too. Oh, and two small children. And a slightly older child, probably not in the US.

And grandparents.

It’s such a weird and wonderful thing, to know somewhere out there my son has a whole family he knows nothing about. Frankly, I don’t know what’s weirder; we know, but very little, or if we didn’t know anything.We were never supposed to meet our son’s birth family. It was more of an awkward “uh, this is a VERY small maternity ward, and you’re the ONLY white people coming in, unpregnant and excited out of your minds we’re the Mexican man, woman and two very young children stuck in the doorway while they do some paperwork… uh…hola!” We were under the impression they wanted to meet. That was wrong. Through an interpreter, at the last minute our social worker was told that in the Mexican communities of itinerant workers the common preference is for a totally closed adoption.

That’s rare in the US now. Open is the only way to go. I admit a selfish part of me wanted to be the ONLY mom, the ONLY woman he could picture…but our kid is, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, Mexican-American. He’s gonna cop on pretty fast he doesn’t look like Mrs. Gringa over here, who is the color of the underbelly of a frog and can be used as a night light in certain emergency situations. I’m glad his birth family consented to one super awkward picture, so at least we can show him: see? You didn’t come out of thin air. The reading I’ve done, and talks with our social worker, indicate children of color need these cues to feel more secure as they grow up. OK, nobody’s pretending I got a good tan, I do see where I came from and letting me be who I am involves talking about my birth mom and dad.

For me, the weirdest part is wondering when she thinks of him. She must although she has got to be BUSY;when we met they had a 2 AND 1 year old with them. I have a single 16 month old and my husband washed a load of underwear for me last week after he looked in my underwear drawer and saw two swimsuits and a credit card I haven’t used since 1998. I went to feed Baby the other day and found my keys in the freezer. Still though, she must wonder how the son they gave up is doing. What would I say?

Well, he was a VERY non-picky eater until two weeks ago,now he throws tantrums worthy of Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen. He screams his head off at nap time, even though he’s rubbing his eyes and trying not to yawn. He likes strawberries better than grapes. He likes most veggies. He thinks hot dogs are OK-ish, and he loves to eat rice with his hands. He uses his grubby little hands to mold sushi bites, then eats them. They’re gross, honestly.

Mostly, I think I’d say thank you. I did then, but that was for the baby.This time I’d say thank you for the experiences, and insanity, the unexpected moments of grace, and hilarity. I’d say thanks for knowing what you’re about to miss and handing him over anyway.

Finally, I want to say Happy Birthmother’s Day. I’m pretty sure most women don’t set out to become one. Thank you for doing it anyway. I may make light of silly things in this column, but I get to do that because there’s enough buoyancy in my heart to share. Those levels were ROCK BOTTOM before we received your gift. Gracias. As I said to you in my crappy Spanish the day we accidentally met, “desde el fondo de mi corazón, gracias.” From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

(Another) Open Letter to Donald Trump

Mr. Trump,

I am writing to you today specifically to address one of the cornerstones of your campaign, the idea that there will be a giant wall that separates the US from Mexico. You started off by saying construction would $4,000,000,000 dollars, and from there have moved up to sixteen billion, but it won’t matter how much it costs because Mexico will pay for it.

It’s rude and racist to say you know what an entire country will do when you’re basing that on an exceedingly small sample size. So I’ll tell you this: here’s what would happen if you approached one very particular Mexican person (in this case a person who is now Mexican American because he was born here and adopted). If you told my son there needed to be a giant wall he doesn’t want but it’s his responsibility to make one anyway, this is what you’d get:

  1. He’d throw all of your construction equipment to the ground and then DEMAND you, personally, come over and pick it up. It wouldn’t matter that he has 30 other things to make a wall with right now, he wants THAT bulldozer and so you’ll need to fly over on Air Force One, pick up THAT bulldozer, and wait.
  2. Because now he knows the game works. So forget trying to negotiate with China, because your wall-building team is just going to dump bulldozers in the Rio Grande all damn day, until you pick them up, wipe them off, and put them at his disposal again. Don’t bother rehearsing your State of the Union speech, because your entire speech will be undermined by the headline
  3. Wall Builder Will Not Begin Construction Until Demands Are Met
  4. Oh, I know, Mr. Trump, you always fly your left hand over your shoulder and lean forward on the podium then say “whatever. I can handle them.” Then you go back to spewing your thinly veiled hatred of Muslims. But you don’t understand: not figuratively, LITERALLY the wall is not being worked on because you didn’t get your builder Cheerios, applesauce, and three bites of whatever mommy is eating, off her fork. You can put it in front of him and repeat “it’s the same food! It’s the same food! It’s the same food!”until you sound like a deranged parrot from the bowels of hell but it won’t matter. NO WALL FOR YOU because the three bites weren’t from Mommy’s fork.
  5. Good news, Mr. President! Your sample size of one Mexican person is in the mood to build a wall today. An esoteric, sort of postmodern wall with different plastic components, some boxes, a wrapped tampon that fell out of the closet which is super weird since nobody in the house has needed those since Oct. 2011, but whatever. It’s a barrier. To parents. This wall will be a nightmare of trying to walk over his wall without stepping on something sharp, losing your balance, and crashing onto the floor.
  6. Your sample size of one Mexican didn’t want to work on the wall today, Donald. Well, shit. Cancel that whole “I can fix ISIL” meeting. Now what do you do? You can be a normal person and pick up the wall because nobody needs this thing, it doesn’t do a damn thing, and the only people who want it are the same people who have the intellectual capacity to think an empty box from Rice Krispie cereal is an effective barrier to people not coming into your space. But the builder, also at your level of mental development, will cry because you destroyed all the hard work he put into it.
  7. And, finally, I fervently hope, someday…you’ll realize the entire wall was a stupid idea. It wasn’t a good jobs scheme, it wasn’t good diplomacy, it was racist, it was an illusion of security and not worth it…in short you’ll learn your wall was child’s play, Mr. Trump.
  8. So get yourself some Cheerios, play with a bulldozer and make some vroom sounds. Our sample size of one Mexican seemed pretty content and nobody’s mad at him. Although I am a bit peeved–I stepped on a sharp piece of a CAT front loader and it’s bleeding like a son of a bitch.
  9. Oh look! Tampon.

Destiny’s Niño

I want to share with you a small fact about destiny that I bet you didn’t know: it has been fated since the beginning of all time that I would have a Mexican child. There was no getting around it. If you think I can make up this fate, keep reading. 

There is an old wives’ tale that newborn babies smell like something really special. It’s not the shampoo, or lotion, or anything you use around the baby, it’s just the way the baby himself smells. One night while I was lying next to the baby I took a good long sniff of his hair. It was very strange to me to discover that the old wives’ tale brought out three distinct phases of terror in me. The terror was that fate is real. The Greeks were right. You cannot outrun your destiny, not ever.

Phase One: It was TRUE. What other pieces of wisdom have I foolishly dismissed over the years just because I didn’t see empirical evidence to back the claim? Why was I dismissing the information that may not have been based in science as I understand it but had historical and cultural implications? Oh god. Was I not a feminist because I demanded a hypothesis of behavior rooted in the physical or social sciences and that avenue clearly wasn’t open to women when this wisdom began and oh my lord have I abandoned everything it means to be a woman in a misguided attempt to be a jaded humanist???


Wow, your imagination can run away with you when you’re tired and emotional. I didn’t shit all over the sisterhood, I just didn’t believe babies have a unique smell. Now I do. But that brings me to the second issue:

He smelled, I am not making this up, like crunchy and butter cinnamon-y goodness to me. My first thought was “toast!” I probably thought that because, and my thoughts on this are well documented, I really, really love toast. I think toast is fantastic. Plus that would even make sense, because my mom used to make me special cinnamon toast when I was a kid, I associate it with mothering and love, and blah blah blah. But the baby didn’t smell exactly like toast to me. He smelled like _________. Oh, man. OK. I’ll try again. He smelled like a, uh, uh, a…. ________________.

He smelled exactly like a —————. This is terrible. I can’t do it. Please don’t make me do it. Uh, OK. Bravery. Peace. Inner calm. What would Leslie Knope do? Boldness. Honesty. Integrity. Just say it.

He smelled precisely and utterly like a churro to me.

This was a nightmare. Did it make me racist? Am I insane? Have I somehow transposed memories of a time when I was in Mexico to having this Mexican child and then it all got swirled in my brain? Have I had a stroke? Am I dying? Nope. There’s no way of getting around it. That kid smelled like churros. He did. I was the only one that could smell it but I stand by my madness.

Which brings me to the third point, the hilarity of my fate. Before I met Mac, I dated a man from Mexico. We met there and had only seen each other in person in Mexico although we had a long distance romance for awhile. He was the major relationship I had in my early 30s. I’ll call him Juan, because if I tell you his real name everyone in all of Mexico will be able to find him. His parents had a hippie streak and gave him a name that would be as distinctive in Mexico as Moon Unit Zappa or Blue Ivy Carter is here. Juan is a great guy, it’s just that he needed to live in Mexico where his heart is, and I needed to live in the US, where my heart is.  Sorry, I don’t like to lie. Ireland is where my heart is. However the fact remains that my job, family and psychiatrist all live here and that, especially the last, is not insignificant. Juan had a house in Mexico but living there wasn’t right for me. So we parted and it hurt but we moved on and remain friends.

The hilarity is this: I ate churros quite a few times with Juan. They are damn delicious and go great with hot cocoa. Maybe I did make a subconscious connection. Maybe I do like cinnamon. Maybe I have a serious smelling disorder linked to motherhood and I should ask my psychiatrist about it. One glaring, ridiculous fat fact remains:

I broke up with a Mexican man, to live in the US. In the US I married a Canadian. The Canadian and I have a Mexican son.

You can’t fuck with fate, people. I was gonna have a Mexican kid no matter what.  And he DID smell like churros. So there.


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