Violeta Garcia-Mendoza is a Spanish-American poet, writer, and teacher. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of literary venues including Cicada, Tatto Highway and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She also wrote the Multi-Culti Mami column for Literary Mama. In her lyrical contribution to Call Me Okaasan, “Two Names for Every Beautiful Thing,” Violeta writes about what she hopes to give to her Guatemalan-born children. Here, she shares a day in the life of her family:
Sundays in Springtime are one of the busiest days of the week at our house. We sleep in until around 9 and then have a big breakfast (a quiche campestre, some fresh fruit, cereal, and orange-mango juice) before church. With two three-year-olds and one two-year-old, it takes us an entire hour to get everyone cleaned up, dressed, and in the car, but it’s important to us to attend church as a family.
After church, because my husband is a realtor and Sundays are the traditional day to hold Open Houses in our area, he leaves immediately to go show one of his listed properties. I visit with friends and neighbors for a while and then take the kids back home, change their clothes, give them a little snack, and put them down for nap.
While they sleep, I make myself my favorite lunch-a tuna, hummus and avocado wrap- and go to my studio to write. It’s in the back of the house, and I love that I can open the windows and the door and enjoy a lovely crossbreeze while I write. I work on my next installment of my “Multi-Culti Mami” column for Literary Mama, and jot down some ideas for future writing projects.
The kids wake up and my husband comes home from work, and because the end of April/the beginning of May in Pennsylvania is the time of year where the spring rains give way to warm, brighter days, we decide to drive to the nearby Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve for a hike.
This year the kids are old enough to hike without being carried, and the five of us love the chance to wander across the meadows full of wildflowers and through the dense greening forests. The kids name the animals they spot- birds, ducks, rabbits, squirrels, and deer- some in English, some in Spanish- and we pile back into the car picking pine needles off our clothes.
On the way home, we pick up a takeout dinner from our favorite Central American restaurant and eat it on our back terrace while we listen to Buena Vista Club Social. The kids finish their meals first, get their clothes changed (again!) and are allowed to go play on the playset we’ve set up in the yard and with the new toy car their father bought them- a child-sized version of his beloved American muscle car.
A few other kids from the neighborhood come over and play until the sun starts to go down. We do bathtime, and put the kids to bed after reading them Buenas Noches, Luna and Angus Lost. We leave a tape of Cuenta Cuentos that used to be mine when I was a child playing stories in Spanish in the hallway outside of their bedrooms and they drift to sleep to that.
My husband and I go downstairs to one of the basement rooms we designed as a home theater when we built our house last year. With three small children, we don’t get many dates, and we set up this room to provide us a date-at-home. We curl up next to each other on the sofa, watch a movie, and unwind from a long day.