Mami says that she’s proud of me, but I don’t always believe her. It could be because I’m an Aries. (Aries are known to be tough on the outside, yet our ruler Mars makes us secretly insecure.) Or maybe it’s the limited ways in which Mami shows her support.
In 2009, when I told her that Latina.com selected me as their resident dating blogger, she nodded and smiled—and continued to watch Maria Guadalupe run from a barn fire in some novela. A year later, I told her that I would be featured on the WPIX morning newscast. She nodded and smiled—and stuffed a handful of white rice in her mouth. Last year, when I told her I was writing a book. she reacted the same way, but added: “Will you make money?”
“Hopefully,” I responded. And she nodded and smiled.
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I understand her reservations. Mami doesn’t understand what I do for a living. Because I live at home and write from home, Mami has always doubted that I am a true professional. “What’s a blogger?” she asks. “What do you mean you have a website?” (Mami just learned how to turn on/off a computer last night.) But now that I have a book out, Love Trips: A Collection of Relationship Stumbles, Mami sees my work in a physical form. She can touch it. She can feel its thickness. She can see the words, my words, in print. Mami says that she is proud.
I actually believe her this time.
A few weeks ago, I walked into the living room, sat down on the long copper couch and invited Mami to my book launch party. I was hoping for a big reaction.
“Claro que si, mi’ija!” she responded with a nod and a smile.
This time, however, the nod and the smile were enough. As Mami swung the doors open and stepped into my launch party, she surveyed the room. I saw a tenderness and pride behind her dark brown eyes as she beamed at the crowd of family, familiar friends and strangers she had yet to meet. Mami approached me and opened her arms. She embraced me and whispered in Spanish, “I am so proud of you.” I fought back tears, especially when she asked for a copy of my book.
Now, Love Trips sits on our living room side table. I listen as Mami talks to friends and family over the phone, boasting about my published book. She is proud of me and always has been. I just expected her to hoot and howl her feelings of orgullo. I wanted Mami to do cartwheels. But Mami is in her early 60s with arthritis. This is a woman who can’t climb four flights of stairs without an inhaler. So no cartwheels for her. Even if my book lands on The New York Times Best Seller list and I tell her I’m buying her a dream house, there will be no jumping for joy. Mami expresses her pride in her way. We all do. So while Mars pushes this Aries to need constant reassurance (Are you sure red is my color?), a nod and a smile will just have to do.
A regular contributor to Mamiverse, Sujeiry Gonzalez is the author of Love Trips: A Collection of Relationship Stumbles. Her comedic personality, unique voice and talent have led her to pen relationship highs and lows for Latina magazine, MiGente, SiTV and Llero.net. Learn more at LoveSujeiry.com.