Growing up poor and receiving little or no gifts I swore that my children would have the gifts I dreamed of having but my parents could not afford. I wanted to watch their smiles and watch them as they tore the ribbons and bright colored paper off the gifts. Just to hear the rustling of the paper being torn and the watching the joy in children’s faces would make me ever so happy.
Prior to Aviva my daughter being born I began to think about what I might give this child of mine. At that point I was drinking more than my share every night and being a poet of sorts, I was insulting those I did not like with the most creative language. I modified the insult to that person irritating me and I hate to admit but some of it was a bit gross.
Late one night I thought of what I could do for this child coming into our lives. And this is what I came up with
- I stopped having my ridiculous arguments with her pregnant mother. I wanted the womb not to be upset by our fierce arguments.
- I put the earphones of my walk man on the protruding belly so she could hear while in the womb my favorite music.
Then I took a big step off the edge of the ledge
- I would limit myself to 13 drinks a year … at that time I could do 13 in one day. I did not want my daughter to see me drunk or worse that I might drop her after drinking too much.
- I would not use any more swear words. This was hard but since 1985 the worst word I use is FUDGE or DOUBLE FUDGE
After I decided to play and sing with my child even though I am tone deaf. I read her books and created my own series of Stories call MARIA. I also learned to play with dolls and did many a tea with my child.
And I was able to take her to many rallies, demonstrations, marches, and community meetings where she would meet many good activists, and on occasion actors, and major celebrities.
We all have a lot of gifts that we can give our children that don’t cost us any money but will ask for some our time.
As a child Aviva was not fond of my Mexican cooking. Once she spent a month when she was about six alone with her Abuelita Carmen Montez Avila where she learned to play bingo in a hall filled with senior citizens and smoke. When I finally went to pick up Aviva, she had in the refrigerator frozen samples of my Moms Mexican cooking. She exclaimed. Papa now this is a good Mexican food!
Time and love are the gifts we can all give, and it will last longer and is better than any toy.