A Latina Love Letter
Love above the chaos
Lisa Serna Mayorga, Spicy Cilantro
Published on LatinoLA: October 18, 2012
I know what true love feels like. I know what it looks like. My love is as passionate and dramatic as a cheesy telenovela, but with less make-up. I'm a Latina who loves hard… friends, lovers and family alike.
We met in 1995 in a nightclub, of all places. I was a love-sick twenty-two year old, who for the first time, was looking for nothing in my life. Up until that clear February evening I spent most of my time on earth seeking the approval of everyone around me: My father, mother, brother, cousin, friends, even my cat's approval.
One year prior to meeting that special him, down to the very day, I suffered the worst imaginable pain – raped on my college's campus– left for dead with a broken spirit. Falling in love had faded quickly into what became one of the darker times I've experienced.
He asked me to dance; he told me his name, but I couldn't hear over the thumping pop music. We danced, talked, laughed with no pressure, no worries. I said "yes" to the dance and that was the beginning of many, many dances, literally and figuratively.
As a young girl, I imagined myself a wife and mother. I wanted to spend my life with someone like my dad… Latino, strong, smart, funny, loving, devoted, gentle, humble and honest. I wanted a man who would do 50% of the work, too. My mother taught me that it was my right to demand the love of a man who would love me 100% and who would be a life partner – smart woman she was.
He was and is all of what I ever dreamed of. He courted me the good ol' fashioned way and much to my surprise he didn't give two shits about local politics; he had no clue who my father was. This meant a great deal to me; before him I had to manage relationships with men who loved the perks of dating me, but who didn't truly love me. Annoying to say the least.
I don't remember the exact date, but I remember a calm fall evening in October of that same year when we promised each other we'd love each other honestly forever. We agreed that marriage was in our future. Telling my parents was another story. My parents pretended to be traditional, but they weren't, nor was their daughter. Despite their liberal view of the world, I suggested that we go to my parents and ask permission. We sat down for dinner – dad made the best pot of his famous pozole – and my love quietly asked my parents for my hand in marriage. I was frozen… I didn't say a word.
We married the following August on my 24th birthday. It was one of many "best days of my life" I would share with him. Our wedding was perfect, life was perfect. I couldn't have imagined what the first few years of marriage would bring.
Two years later we welcomed our first son Andres into the world. What a beautiful baby boy we made. He would grow up to be just like his father. Two weeks after Andres' birth, my mom dropped the news of my father's illness on us; my poor papa couldn't bare to tell me himself – we were so close and he couldn't fathom watching my reaction. I remember that drive home. I could hardly wait to get to my husband. I thought maybe he could make the pain go away; maybe he could somehow make all of it go away.
I cried in his arms for what felt like forever. How could I possibly go on living knowing that my father, my pillar and one constant in my life would be gone in six months? It was unbearable. My husband always listened to me, he heard me cry at all hours of the night. He picked up every single sobbing phone call I made to his job and he never once told me to stop. He said very little, but he knew all I needed was his love. He's still the same way today.
When my father died, he sat quietly and watched the madness that ensued with funeral preparations and family drama. Again, he said very little but proved to be the strongest person in the bunch. He took over parenting duties while I took care of my mother who was also dying of cancer. My husband cooked, cleaned, took care of the laundry and provided a shoulder to cry on twenty-four hours a day.
My mother died the following September just ten months after my dad and two weeks later my Nanie (dad's mother) died of a broken heart. It was unbelievable. My grief was insurmountable; my world rocked at its core. Life would never be the same. My husband 's love never faltered.
Three years later we welcomed our second son Emilio and life was back to normal. Some six years later we celebrated our 14th anniversary. I had grown unhappy in the marriage. Both of us were guilty of forgetting to love each other. Life had become too normal and mundane. I didn't talk about my grief as much… so I suffered in silence. I had a loving husband and two beautiful children, I should be thankful. Our marriage became too casual – through our joys and pain – we became ordinary friends and roommates, but like true Latinos we fought passionately through our issues, spent a good chunk of change on therapy and cleaned our lens so our view was clear; our focus is laser sharp.
His name is Edgard Mayorga. He's my husband, best friend, lover and confidant. I owe this sweet man my life. He greets me with love every morning and kisses me before I sleep each night. He's a wonderful father and the perfect example of a real man for our boys. Our love is not perfect; our relationship isn't free of problems, but we've made it work through it al l- good and bad.
I have everything I need in my [i]viejo[/]…my Edgard.
All Rights Reserved, © 2012, Spicy Cilantro
Lisa Serna Mayorga, Spicy Cilantro:
Lisa blogs about public service, politics, education, volunteerism, and growing up in public view. Her father, Joe Serna Jr., was the first Latino mayor of Sacramento, CA and a professor of government at California State University of Sacramento.