And just like that! My baby girl is five and finished her first week of kindergarten.
Some friends my age are posting pictures of their kids’ first day of college! Some are starting high school and some are still in elementary school but I am for sure the “old mom” but I don’t feel old. I am anxious AF but I don’t think that’s age related. Eighteen months in a pandemic, still wearing masks and it doesn’t look like this virus and its variants are going away any time soon.
I’ve been so worried about my family, making myself sick with anxiety over the unknown; How fast is this thing going to spread? Am I doing enough to keep my kids safe? Is it OK to send Hudson to Kindergarten?
After all that has been done to curb this pandemic, a new variant has emerged. I feel like here in California things were going in the right direction and on June 1st, I felt a sense of dread because our state was going to open up on June 15th and I knew that the progress we managed to make was going to be short lived. We basically had three weeks in June were the light at the end of the tunnel was visible and by the third week of June it started to get further away again.
Now, two months after California opened up, hospitalizations are rising, there are kids at the hospital where I work suffering from COVID in numbers that are concerning. At the height of the pandemic, we never had more than three kids hospitalized with COVID.
Every year, for as long as I can remember, I get a cold in August. This year, as we come out of quarantine and restrictions are lifted, my August cold came in mid-July. I spent last weekend in bed, knocked out, fatigued. I am vaccinated but I know so many people who are getting COVID or one of the variants.
This is one of those reading series I’ve always wanted to read at, I was so thrilled when my friend Lisbeth Coiman, a Venezuelan poet, invited me to be one of her readers. In concert terms, she’s the headliner promoting her new book Uprising/Alzamiento. The three other writers and I are her opening act.
Everyone I love has read at Roar Shack, it’s an honor that Lisbeth extended the invitation and I’m looking forward to this. As with everything pandemic, it’s on Zoom. I am so grateful for Zoom’s ability to broaden inclusivity in the literary community. I’ve participated in workshops taught in Los Feliz, CA, New York City and Austin, TX. I’ve attended more Women Who Submit events and consistently hosted the Long Beach Chapter of Women Who Submit. While I’m looking to attending events in real life, I hope that Zoom is here to stay.
So much has happened these last couple of months; I fell off my workout wagon because life got busy, I volunteered what felt like a gazillion hours at my daughter’s school between the Spring Event and room parent duties. I took on too much while the world was online and now that things are getting back to the new normal, I need to figure out what to give up. I’ve been working on my memoir and applying to fellowships. I’m taking a class on how to write a book proposal and Hudson turned FIVE! and graduated to kindergarten. How do I have a FIVE YEAR OLD!
I got published on my birthday! I wrote a first draft of this piece when my friend and mentor liz gonzalez invited me to read at the open mic of Uptown Word and Arts in 2016. I didn’t have anything that was under five minutes so I wrote “Your Body is a Battleground.” I was nervous reading along side Isabel Quintero and Ruth Nolan but liz loved what I read and encouraged me to work on it.
In 2018 I took a class with one of my literary Sheroes, Vanessa Martir. The class was Writing the Mother Wound. It was an honor when Vanessa asked if I had a flash to contribute to the anthology. An invitation to submit does not guarantee that you will be published. I was grateful for the invite and hoped my piece would get published. I was thrilled to be accepted and be published alongside Vanessa and the other alums. My piece is the last one and the image below was taken three years after I wrote the piece.
Earlier this year I joined the Leadership of Women Who Submit as the Chapters Liaison. I also lead the Long Beach Chapter, we meet the third Saturday of the month via Zoom and submit our work to publications.
Last August, my writing partner and I committed to send five submissions per month. We have been submitting and my work has been accepted to three publications and is forthcoming in an anthology at the end of the year from a big publishing house (more to come on the anthology). I am super excited about it but I can’t talk about it just yet.
Los Angeles County is about to enter the ORANGE Tier! I don’t even know what all that entails but it’s a good thing and signifies a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.
I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we entered into lockdown. Yesterday was Easter Sunday. I’ve seen so many of my friends post on social media juxtaposing the Resurrection with new beginnings. I think this lockdown has made a lot of us more self-aware and intuitive.
A year ago, I was binging Schitt’s Creek. A TV show about a formerly super wealthy family living in crammed motel rooms in a town called Schitt’s Creek. Originally, the show spoke to me about the fish out of water experience of being a new immigrant in the early 1980s. My parents, siblings and I left everything behind. We traded our upwardly mobile Dominican middle-class life for the American dream and started off immigrant and poor in the US. I felt like I was David and Moira was my mother. My dad reminded me so much of Mr. Rose, a man who loved his family but somehow seemed detached and out of touch.
Like the Roses, after a year of being locked out of our old lives, we got closer with those in our bubbles and reminisced about all that we used to have. When the Roses left the motel, they were more self sufficient and in better charge of their new lives. Their lock down forced them to reinvent themselves and in doing so, they found happiness. I hope that after a year of lockdown we too have become more self-sufficient and grateful. I know this pandemic has had it’s share of thrivers while others have been affected by loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of resources. Working in a hospital during a world wide pandemic was not easy for me and my anxiety. I am grateful we all stayed safe and healthy, I know not everyone was so fortunate.
Since Charlie and I were hospitalized in 2018, I have been wanting to be more in touch with my faith. This pandemic has shown me how faith and hope can make the worst of situations bearable.
I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for all the blessings my family and I have. We are healthy, we have each other, we have friends and are starting to build community. I owe that to Hudson’s school, my kids’ daycare and my writing. I have met so many wonderful women through my writing. I have been working towards this for years and I can’t believe how many connections I’ve been able to make over Zoom.
This was not the entry I intended to write but this is what came out.
I will post later this week about all I’ve been up to. It’s a lot! I hope you all had a healthy and wonderful Easter.
I recently joined the leadership team of Women Who Submit as their Chapters Liaison. I co-lead the Long Beach chapter of Women Who Submit with two of my board members from The Long Beach Literary Arts Center. I love my roles in these three organizations. I am a strong advocate for more representation of women and people of color in creative spaces.
I am a room parent and am part of the Spring Event Committee at my daughter’s school.
I work full time.
I have been writing and submitting my work. I am going to be published in Harper Collins anthology! I will write more about this when I can talk about it.
The pandemic has afforded me to be able to participate in all of these activities because they are all taking place online from the comfort of my home and we can’t still do much outside the house.
Tonight, I did a zoom meeting for the Spring Event Committee while I put together Valentine gifts for my daughter’s class. Last Saturday I co-hosted/co-lead a vision board workshop for the Long Beach Literary Arts Center. I turned in my edits for the anthology, met with my writing accountability partner on Friday night and wrote/chatted from 9:30pm – 12am. And I managed to get my family somewhat together and we did Valentine’s Day pictures.
It looks like we are going to be in pandemic mode for a while longer, maybe by next summer things will go back to a somewhat new normal. For now, I intend to stay busy and keep focused on my creative endeavors.