A Mother’s Letter to Her Daughter on Her 1st Birthday (for Alexah)

It takes 365 days for the Earth to complete its orbit around the sun. Today signifies the completion of your first revolution. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 92.96 million miles. The average distance between a dream and its manifestation is the number of times your knees have bled while clinging to the ground in prayer. You are my greatest prayer manifested in human form and for the rest of my life I will remember this moment, and be grateful that you chose me to be the vessel to bring you into this world. Continue reading A Mother’s Letter to Her Daughter on Her 1st Birthday (for Alexah)

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The Mamí Chronicles: The Gift of Mothering

I watch you in the morning while you are sleeping. I prepare my altar carefully so not to disturb you. I burn sage to remove unwanted spirits. They say this is how you keep the evil away. The smoke fills the air. The faint light of dawn creeps through the window highlighting the softness of your face. The stillness of the room interrupted only by … Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: The Gift of Mothering

The Mamí Chronicles: A Letter to My Daughter on Her 4th Birthday

You are growing up so differently than your father and me. Your experiences are going to be different and I can only pray and wish that you always know just how beautiful and strong you are. Always know that you come from good stock. You have a family who loves you, protects you, and will always defend you…no matter what. Know that when it feels like the entire world is against you home is where you can always return to feel loved and be safe. Always trust your instincts. Treat others with the same kindness and respect that you expect for yourself and those you love. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself or for injustices. Mommy and daddy will always, ALWAYS have your back. You can bank on that. Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: A Letter to My Daughter on Her 4th Birthday

A Boy Is Dead, Who Is To Blame?

Considering that wildlife experts estimate that there are 1.3 million alligators in Florida, and that they can be found in all 67 counties it is a reasonable expectation that the place which promotes itself as the “Happiest Place on Earth” exercise all precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of its guests. I’ve never stayed at a Disney resort, but I would expect that any place that caters specifically to children would be safe. I believe that is a reasonable expectation.

Thus far every article I’ve read about this and every news broadcast I’ve seen has failed to ask any of these questions. Why isn’t Disney being held responsible? Why didn’t they take measures to make sure an incident like this didn’t occur? I bet now they will. But it’s too little too late. A boy lost his life and a family lost their son. Continue reading A Boy Is Dead, Who Is To Blame?

On Losing a Child: Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

Being a parent is simultaneously rewarding and scary. I never thought it was possible to feel so much love, joy, happiness, and fear at the same time. When I heard the news of the Sandy Hook massacre and that a gunman had killed 20 children my heart could not grasp the enormity of the hole left in the hearts and lives of the parents of those murdered children. It is something I struggle with every time I hear of a murdered child. It was what I felt when I first heard the news of the Orlando mass shooting at Pulse nightclub and the same feeling I had when I heard of the young boy snatched by the alligator at the Disney Resort. Continue reading On Losing a Child: Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

The Mamí Chronicles: Family, Career, & Personal Fulfillment- How to juggle it all

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. Most of us want it all, but many women struggle with the idea of having it all and often find themselves having to choose between having a happy fulfilled family life and having an equally thriving career. As a woman who has both, I don’t subscribe to the notion that … Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: Family, Career, & Personal Fulfillment- How to juggle it all

ABOVE THE HIGH: COPING WITH ADDICTION AND DEATH

*The following was originally published on The Manifest Station. NOVEMBER 17, 2015 By Nancy Arroyo Ruffin The first time I remember experiencing death I was three years old. My uncle Louie lay in a casket at the Ortiz Funeral Home wearing a light colored suit; it could’ve been white, beige maybe. His afro was neatly picked and in my three year old mind he appeared … Continue reading ABOVE THE HIGH: COPING WITH ADDICTION AND DEATH

Overcoming Setbacks: Dealing with loss and how we recover

The red stain on my underwear pierced my eyes. It was the one thing I had not envisioned, yet here I was living my worst nightmare. I’ve never experienced this before so I don’t know what to expect. Yesterday there was a light stain and today too. Everything that I’ve read says that I should be experiencing cramping and that the blood will come in clots. Chunks of my deepest desire flowing through me like a poison releasing itself from my body. That’s what a miscarriage is. It is an abnormality in the fetus. The chromosomes didn’t split properly. Proof that what I believed was my miracle really wasn’t. Continue reading Overcoming Setbacks: Dealing with loss and how we recover

Hispanic Heritage Month: On being Latina & how family shapes who we are

History, traditions, & culture are passed on and it is up to us to make sure that we honor that history and that we preserve it, while simultaneously adding to it so that we leave to our children a legacy they can be proud of. So when I think about what makes me Latina I can’t narrow it down to one thing or to a few things. I am a Latina by how I love and the way I live my life, by the examples set by my family, by fulfilling the expectations of my ancestors and those who came before me. I attribute my latinidad and my desire to help others with the love of family that was instilled in me as a child. You always look out for your family. That’s what I was taught and that is what I exhibit. I want each and every one of us to succeed. If I can help another person succeed, even if it’s in a small way, I will.

My family showed me by their example how wonderful and magnificent life is. They taught me to be orgullosa of my Puerto Rican heritage while simultaneously teaching me to love everything that this great country of ours has to offer. They taught me to love America and value its lesson that great things can be achieved if one works hard for it; with the understanding that success for Latinos or Latinas, or any minority for that matter, doesn’t come easy. We have to work twice as hard and although that struggle did not and does not create a Latina identity, it does inspire how I live my life. I’ve learned that, pride is instilled. It is what you carry with you every day of your life. This is what I hope to pass down to my daughter and future generations. Continue reading Hispanic Heritage Month: On being Latina & how family shapes who we are

The Mamí Chronicles: A letter to my daughter on her 3rd birthday

I have been writing to you since the day I learned I was pregnant. I have an entire journal documenting every single day of my pregnancy with you. When you born I wrote you a letter on your birthday. Last year I did the same thing. Writing is what I do and it is my way of documenting my life and legacy. You are a part of my legacy. So today I am following tradition and writing you a letter on what is and always will be the most important day of my life. Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: A letter to my daughter on her 3rd birthday