Monday, April 27, 2009

The Path of a Young Mother

We don't always really plan our paths, and for me, at least for the past few years, I've been on fast-forward...Here's a very brief summary.
While many young people, and many of my friends didn't have a clue what they wanted to do when they were in high school, I was on a specific track to become a professional ballerina. This meant not a lot of dily-dalying. Serious schoolwork was followed by serious training everyday. Summers were filled with even more intensive training. After I graduated, I made a dramatic u-turn and changed tracks. I dove into student life with a big appetite for experiences. I fearlessly took trains to unknown places and spoke to unknown people in languages I just absorbed. After a year in Miami, one in Europe, and two at Davidson College, I had a college degree at age 20...And absolutely no clue what to do next...So I came home.

I had known D. for several years already but something changed that summer and our sporadic friendship turned into something magical. With a few ups and downs and moves in between, we were married in May of 2003--age 22. By the end of our two week honeymoon, we were pregnant. By the end of 2008, we had three children--age 28.
Motherhood was something I always expected to arrive at but not necessarily so quickly. I've come to look at the older mothers dropping off their children at school along side mine and am sometimes envious of the time they spent in their twenties going to graduate school and then career building in their thirties. The trade off for them was that they put off having children until they were nearly or arrived at age 40, which for some has limited the number of children they have to one or two. They will be in their sixties when their kids are going away to college. I will be 41 when Cecilia goes to college. Most of them, stay at home with their children now. They have the financial security that they built as well as the self-assurance that this is exactly what this phase of motherhood is all about, it is the phase they've been waiting for for so many years.
I, on the other hand, want to have my pie and eat it too. I want to be the "super-mom" who is there every time her children need her, while fulfilling the personal needs and goals of a professional environment.
I can't take many of the risks that I might have at 25 without attachments. Still, even with my troupe, I'm ready to begin a new adventure. And don't get me wrong. I ADORE my kids and husband and wouldn't do anything different if given the chance. I know that I am exactly where I'm suppose to be. Perhaps my path, for this day and age, was the road less traveled. The most important advantage is that I've had the perfect companion.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two Mommies and a History of Blogging

The first time I was introduced to a blog was through a friend, art historian and appraiser Juan Lluria, who recommended I read Chitlins and Camembert. Its author, Amy, is an American girl who studied at the Courtauld Art Institute with our mutual friend and then married a Frenchman and moved to France. At the time I thought she was interesting but didn't really understand the whole blog thing. I thought, ok here is a girl writing about her daily life, kids, etc. what's the big deal? Juan (I believe) simply thought we had a lot in common and could perhaps even work together one day. So I bookmarked Amy's blog and reverted to it from time to time. One day, I'm not quite sure how it happened, I got sucked into the blog circuit, I think it was my highschool classmate, the Amateur Gourmet, who had a lot to do with it. Once my interest in blogging and writing was rekindled I became an avid fan of Amy's writing. She (and I) is now waiting for her first book to be published, a project inspired by the success of her blog.

I have now come to acknowledge that what I love about her writing is the sincerity of it as well as the degree of reflection on "real" issues, mixed in with just as many less important ones. I am often provoked by the topics she brings up, whether they be social stereotyping, political, or racial matters, etc. Until now, and contrary to my nature I have avoided discussing any such topics on my blog. Yet, because of this, many people who know me have commented that there is a lack of me in my blog. So alas, I'm going to throw all caution to the wind and write about the subjects that enter my mind, whether they are more relevant to being a francophile and antiquarian or just the thoughts of a young woman trying to sort out what this life is all about...I would like to imagine that while many of my readers enjoy the beautiful photographs and stories about traveling, you will also be pleasantly provoked by matters of more importance as well.

As Amy was the culprit in all this change, I want to write about a topic she brought up in a post she wrote concerning sexual stereotypes and the concerns of motherhood. You can read it here.

As parents, we always want to protect our children and prevent them from seeing so many ugly things that do exist in this world. Yet, striking the balance between revealing reality and creating a perfect world for them is a tricky one. Cecilia, my eldest, recently came home from school one day and told me that a boy in her class didn't have a mommy and daddy. He has two mommies. I simply let her know, that yes, not all families are like ours, some families have one or two mommies and some may have no mommies. I didn't want to express any prejudice in any way towards families that are not like ours, but I could see by the expression on her face that she seemed a little dumbfounded. Even though I grew up in a very Catholic, Cuban and relatively conservative household, I don't recall any time in my life when different lifestyle choices were frowned upon. Certainly, there were things that I was not allowed to do even though other kids my age were, but there was not a prejudice instilled in me against those people. It was more of a live and let live attitude. There was enough structure and rigidity that I was never tempted to try drugs, get trashed, or "experiment." That other world of unusual things unknown simply had no allure for me. And don't assume that I was not exposed to any of those things. I was a dancer in high school and as in all the art world, dancers too do their share of "experimentation."

I suppose at least some of this was lucky. And now it is important to me that my children grow up being exposed to the diversity of our American culture so that they don't have to go seeking the forbidden fruit when they are older one day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

An Unveiling at Neiman Marcus

Once in a while, I get to escape from the store and run off to fun lunches with the girls, like this one, last Thursday at Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour. The occasion was the unveiling of the latest issue of Social Affairs magazine. Lydia Prio-Touzet was honored with being the cover girl this month for all the philanthropy she does in our community. Here she is with Norma Quintero, editor and publisher of the magazine and a representative of NM.

Trish Bell, Lydia, Jennifer Valoppi, Serena Simkins, and Fran Harris were also honored in the magazine for their work with Women of Tomorrow, a mentorship organization. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then enjoyed a preview of the newest Spring and Summer fashions. Some I liked and some I didn't...

A wonderfully light dessert!

My partner-in-crime, Karla wearing a Rose Idee Collection Necklace.

Designer Fernando Sanchez breaking down on the runway!
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