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 Stories That Bind Us: How do we tell our stories without telling the stories of others?

  We all have secrets, things we may not be proud of, things we keep to ourselves because we don’t want to risk hurting someone we love. In Latino culture we are taught from a very early age not to air our dirty laundry. Los trapos sucios se lavan en casa.  We are never to discuss in public that which happens behind closed doors even … Continue reading The Stories That Bind Us: How do we tell our stories without telling the stories of others?

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

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: #ThingsMyKidSays

One of the many joys of being a parent to a toddler is witnessing their little brains in action. One never knows exactly what they’re thinking or what they will say at any moment. My daughter just turned 3 and one of my favorite things to do is listen to her speak and share her thoughts. I marvel at how bright she is, at her ability … Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: #ThingsMyKidSays

(The Mami Chronicles) The Curse of Bendito: How to raise confident kids

The worst thing parents and care takers can do to their children, in my opinion, is to feel sorry for them. As a Brooklyn born Puertoriqueña, I call it the curse of the “bendito”. In my family we have used the term bendito way too many times. From when little Juan falls and scrapes his knee to when Doña Maria’s roof caves in from a tropical storm. The phrase is used in pretty much every situation to denote sympathy or frustration and while some things do garner sympathy the truth is that there will be many experiences we have no control over. We have to teach our children how to rise above their circumstances. Continue reading (The Mami Chronicles) The Curse of Bendito: How to raise confident kids

NOT MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER: On mothering and changing my legacy

*The following essay was originally published on MUTHA Magazine* I haven’t always had the best relationship with my mother. There were times when I felt like I hated her; despised her even. There were times when I needed her and she wasn’t there. Times when I wanted her to fight for my sister and me, but instead she chose herself. My father says that we … Continue reading NOT MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER: On mothering and changing my legacy

On Bill Cosby, Rape, and why some men just don’t get it

The other day as I was preparing dinner I asked my husband what he thought about the recent rape allegations that have resurfaced about Bill Cosby. His response was eerily similar to the responses I have heard come from other men.

“If these women were raped why are they talking about it now? Why did they wait so long to come forward?” he said.

“Is that really your response?”, I replied. “What if it was your daughter, who years after being raped or assaulted broke her silence and finally decided to talk about what happened to her, would you still have the same response? Does the length of time it takes a person to break their silence make their claims invalid?” He remained quiet. Continue reading On Bill Cosby, Rape, and why some men just don’t get it

How Cancer Saved My Marriage

Music lyrics often talk about how great love is and it is great, most of the time. Sometimes external influences will blind us into believing that if our relationships aren’t like those detailed in the songs or movies then it isn’t love. No one ever tells you that you can fall in and out of love with the same person, or that romance is something you have to work at every single day of your marriage. The stresses of everyday life can become burdensome on a relationship and when there’s bills to pay, children to take care of, and work to do it can leave you feeling exhausted, unappreciated, and even resentful causing one to feel as if they want out of that loving relationship they were once in. Continue reading How Cancer Saved My Marriage