ackaraca-tis-tis-tas, ta-ris-tis-tas, ta-rika-ris-tis-tas!
My mother made a lot of strange noises.
Atraca el mueye!
Madre de los tomates!
and my personal favorite...
My mother said a lot of strange things.
And these are only a few of the many reasons why I love her so much.
Then again, I can't think of anyone who didn't love my mother - unconditionally - the moment they met her. But aside from loving her becasue she's my mother - there are so many things I admire about her as a person.
My mother was lively. She was boisterous. My mother was surprising. Just when you thought you knew her, she'd say or do something that would totally change your perception of her, and make her go from awesome to even more awesome.
My mother had unshakeable faith - faith in God, and faith in people.
She was one of those people you felt had an inside track with God - almost like, even though God listens to everyone's prayers, God might have listened to her a little more closely.
As for her faith in people - she would always give people the benefit of the doubt. She didn't hold grudges. She would give people second, third, fifth, tenth chances. She would assume the best - even if you showed her your worst.
My mother was one of the strongest people I know, and she's been through a lot in her life. By the time she was my age, she had already come from Puerto Rico, learned English, gotten married, followed my father to an Air Force base in CA, driven back to NY a few years later, and had two kids. Meanwhile, the biggest decision most people my age have to make now is whether or not to buy an iPod. And yes, she faced hardships after that - much to do with her illness. Yet, through it all, she managed to let things roll off her back, care about others more than herself, and look at things with a sense of humor. This is a woman who, one of the times she was in the hospital, commented on the hot male nurse and tried to get me to make a move! Terry...hablale! Talk to him.
Yes, she's faced much hardship, but her life was also full of happiness. She had a husband she loved very, very much - she would always say so. I've heard her brag about how proud she was to have married such an intelligent man, and she would always tell me how grateful she was to have had someone who stuck by her all these years and took such good care of her. I know, too, that my brother and sister made her happy and proud - she would always say things like Kenny's such a good son, because he does this...or Janette's so wonderful because she did that... And even me. I know that she loved me. She would always tell me that she loved me more than words could say. I hope I can continue to make her proud - becasue if I have any strength or compassion at all, it's because of her.
There's one last thing I want to make known about my mother. First, you need to know that we Jusino children are all very artistic. Kenny taught himself to play guitar, and is generally very musically inclined. Janette was always an artist. She majored in Fine Arts in college, and still draws and paints to this day. I am a writer and actress. I always assumed that we got our artistic ability only from our dad. After all, he too is a writer. He's the one who played us all Tchakovsky's violin concierto when we were babies to help us develop musical ears...Yet as I've gotten older, my mother has revealed more and more of herself to me. About how, when she was at school, she would enter poetry and monologue recitation contests - and win them. And during one of her recent visits to the hospital, she recited a poem she'd written years ago from memory - and it was beautiful. I had no idea she'd ever written anything. Apparently, she wrote all the time.
I realized then - my mother was a performer and a writer! Just like me. One more thing for which I have her to thank.
I've been thinking lately about all the plays or films of mine she'll never see. All the stories of mine she'll never read. For that matter, the wedding of mine she won't attend, or the children of mine she'll never meet. But I know that whenever I recite a line on a stage, or help a child of mine into pajamas at night - she'll be there through me. and that's pretty nice to think about, too.
My mother was smart. She was insightful. She was artistic, compassionate, strong. She was a person of great faith. My mother was surprising. My mother is an inspiration.
And I will miss her.