Are they all Yours? Part I


This is a phrase that I hear almost every day since I am the mother of 7 kids.  Most people give me the are you crazy? look.  Others show me their complete disapproval by staring with an angry face. Men ask me if I had them with the same man.  I think it breaks the “I cannot be faithful to one woman” or the “doesn’t your husband gets tired of you” argument. I can understand, in a way, where all this comes from.  My mom is my dad’s sixth wife.  Yes, sixth.

Women, on the other hand, ask me how I do it?  I just tell them that I didn’t have 7 kids at once.  That I don’t think about it, I just take care of them and do what needs to be done. I also tell them my little secret for “success”.  I go to Church every day.  I need the extra help or graces, as we Roman Catholics call it. Everyday? Yes, every day of the week, not just on Sundays. I will tell you why.

 For me, getting married  was a completely crazy idea in the first place. I simply was never going to get married.  I wasn’t the type of woman that needs a man to live life to the fullest.  I was going to have a prestigious career and I would have enough money for traveling and to buy a sports car. Yes, I inherited my mother’s side love for fast cars and racing. During college, I was on my way to this dream.  I had two prestigious internships.  One with a U.S. Senator,  in which I was the first Hispanic to do so. The second internship was with a Puerto Rico state senator.  I was also in the Honor Roll and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.  Then, at 20, I got married. No, I wasn’t pregnant, in case you are wondering.  My husband is more competitive and ambitious than I am, so I was mesmerized. That’s when my life changed.  He re-introduced me to the Roman Catholic faith and life.

I was Baptized a Roman Catholic and received First Communion, but rarely practiced my religion. I attended a Catholic school, just because it was one of the two schools rich families sent their kids to.  Yes, I grew up in the upper middle class. I had a beach house, a jet ski and all kind of nice toys.  The only thing I had to do to enjoy all these privileges was to work with my dad in his business on Saturdays and help with cooking and cleaning during the week.  My dad is a Cuban small business entrepreneur. His favorite phrase was: “The one who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat.” So, I have been working since I was 9 years old, but I didn’t mind. I had money and many material things which were my life at that time. By my senior year of high school, I have to admit that I hated anything related to God. God and religion were just another subject in school.  I never learned to love Him, so I didn’t see why I need Him in my life.

So, I finished my college degree and went to Law School.  The idea of being a lawyer wasn’t for me, so I dropped out after the first semester which I finished with straight A’s. It took my dad many years to forgive me for dropping out.  I then went to work and to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I ended up almost finishing a master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. Yes, I didn’t finish that either. I had one semester to go, but had my first baby.   A year before, I had a miscarriage. I struggled  with severe post-partum depression which left me barely able to take care of my son. I t was the first time that I faced failure.



Rosary Walk

The Sunday before my surgery, we were invited to take part of a Rosary walk at a Catholic family’s house. The Rosary was led by a priest from the Opus Dei.   It was wonderful to share a time of prayer with other “big” families like ours.
The children also enjoyed nature while praying to our dear Mother in Heaven.

Worrying About Little Things

It is incredible how much we worry about little things that are not important. The only thing that matters is finding our way to get to Heaven.

As Saint Josemaría Escrivá once said: “We are all called to be saints in the middle of the world by doing ordinary things.”  So, can mothers and wives be saints?  Can all the kid’s screaming, cooking, cleaning, the never ending mountains of laundry, and the lack of sleep take us to heaven?  Yes, it can, but this is not an easy road.  I always remember what one priest once told me: “If things are going perfectly fine, without problems, you should worry.  That is not the way to heaven.”

When I was a mom in my twenties, I used to get so mad when I overheard other women complaining about how their kids were not reading or writing the way they wanted.  During this time, one of my sons was receiving speech and physical therapy services many times a week, so he could do what other kids just learned by themselves.  I wanted to yell and tell them to stop whining.  That they had a “normal” life.  But, what is normal? My crazy life with two kids with disabilities and four with unique  and demanding needs is now normal to me.

To tell the truth, I learned a lot from those experiences, even when I don’t remember most of it.  Nevertheless, when I think about those times, I feel like my stomach is going to burst.  Now, I tell to myself: “Don’t worry about these little things, you are paving your road to heaven.”