Each Sunday my sisters and I would get woken up by the sunlight hitting our faces as my mom pulled the curtains apart while she sang “Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba el Rey David….” I never understood the song but I was always grateful she sang it, even as I grunted and tossed and turned begging for her to stop.
“A limpiar se ha dicho! Levantense que viene gente hoy”
By gente she meant my tia, tio, primos and her closest friends who were like tias to me. I always wondered why we had to clean every time they came if they came almost every Sunday.
We would clean every inch of the house as my mother instructed us what to do. One of my sisters sets the table, while the other sweeps and I ran downstairs to switch the ropa from the washer to the dryer. In between, we would wait for my mom to be distracted on the phone talking to my family back home to dip our fingers in the food and steal fritos maduros. The trick was to grab one, throw it in our mouths and run to the room while the frito burned the inside of it. Once cleared in the room, we would spit the frito onto the palm of our hands and enjoy it one bite at a time.
I’ll never know if my mom noticed or not, she was too busy in the kitchen. Cooking enough food to feed an entire neighborhood. The tables would be set for the 12 people that were scheduled to come and we would somehow always end up having about 18 people over, never less than the scheduled amount. That’s because there would always be 2 or more people on their way who would call to ask my mom if they could bring Fulanita or Fulanito with them and my mom would always reply with:
“Claro. Donde come uno comen dos.”
My mom would never turn anyone down from coming over and eating at our house. As long as my mother has food on her table, everyone else around her will have food to eat too.
Carolina Abreu Is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York Through her writing, she looks to create a space of vulnerability, self-love, liberation and acceptance; To inspire this generation and the future ones to believe in their authenticity while watering the roots planted by their ancestors and the ones they've planted themselves; to take the strength of the past and their present voice and use it to create a new path that is paved with inclusivity and kindness. Her work is inspired by her perceptions and interpretations of what surrounds her. By the confusion of planting her own roots on foreign land and never quite being able to call it home. By the uncomfortable feeling that being asked if she "thinks in English or Spanish?" brings on as opposed to being asked what she thinks. By being a woman. By the times she fell deeply in love and the times she was forced to fall out of it. By her desire to heal others and identify with their pain and finally, by her understanding that alone, we are in chaos but together we can do it all.