(This is just for myself, as a reflection of the things I know and remember. Although most of this is simply what I’ve been told. So please, please do not feel the need to read this at all. I’m sure you can find something better to do with the next 10 minutes of your life.)
I was supposed to have been born on April Fool’s Day. But my mother kept falling asleep during my birth. She said the pain was overwhelming and she couldn’t handle it and so she would fall asleep. Go figure that one.
Having gone through birthing 3 children I can’t fathom being able to sleep through contractions. It’s much more probable she was passing out.
Eventually the doctor insisted she stay awake and I was born at about 4:50am on April 2nd.
I was purple. I wasn’t breathing. I can’t remember why exactly but I spent about 10 days in NICU. In that time my mother’s milk dried up and she was not able to breast feed me.
She had been calling me Marcos in the womb because she was absolutely sure I was a boy. She had never even considered girl names because she was so sure.
The nurses were the ones that kept nagging her to name me and eventually, after a few days, she settled on Massiel. She named me after a singer from Spain who sang a popular song she liked called “Rosas en el Mar”.
It’s a beautifully sad song about trying to find true love, honesty and truth, freedom, and respite from the evils of the world. The chorus says how it’s easier to find roses in the ocean than the things she seeks.
There are two versions of how my nickname came about. One is that the nurses couldn’t pronounce Massiel so she immediately gave me a nickname. The other is that when my dad came 2 months after my birth (him having been gone working as a migrant farm worker) he gave me the nickname.
It’s no matter. I’ve been known by my nickname ever since. It always made the first day of school awkward, because the teachers would butcher my name and then I’d give them my nickname and the sigh of relief seemed palpable, for both of us.
My mother told me I cried the first three months solid. I must have had reflux or colic. She said the only thing that would shut me up was giving me saltines to suck on. So that’s what she did.
I have a few memories of those first years. 4 to be exact. I remember where we lived. It was a house behind another house. In the front yard was an old aluminum swing set. I remember sitting in my high chair by the front door eating scrambled eggs with cut up hot dogs. I remember my mother doing airplane to feed me in the dark kitchen. I remember being angry that I could see my mother passing by my room but my protests and jumping up and down in my crib were not getting her attention.
She said I remembered that because she thought that was the day I broke my crib from jumping so fiercely. And lastly I remember the neighbors in the front house babysitting me. I was crawling then. I remember playing with Weeble Wobbles on the floor and I remember looking up to see a stream of piss coming out of the man’s penis and into the toilet.
By the time I was born my parents had been married over 5 years. In that time they had moved from New York to Chicago to LA. In that time my father had also had many dalliances. But when he impregnated my nanny my mother put her foot down. Enough was enough; she kicked him out and petitioned for a divorce.
My father in retaliation kidnapped me and took me to Mexico to one of his sister’s. He basically just dropped me off with people I didn’t know to be raised by them and left.
My mother had to kidnap me back and smuggle me back across the border, because even though we were both citizens I didn’t have documentation to prove I could cross the border legally. You need the parent not present to sign notarized papers saying they give the solitary parent that right.
My mother said that from the time I got back I was a different child: clingy and scared. Makes sense, but I don’t remember any of it.
It’s funny how child psychologist put so much emphasis on the first five years of a child’s life. Because those years are a blur to most people. We don’t have many memories and we have no clear understanding of the world at all, let alone being able to process it.
But that’s a synopsis of my first two years of life. Not sure why I’m feeling like strolling down memory lane. I guess because I see how fleeting life is and I want to preserve what I can remember now because the day will come I either won’t remember or won’t be here to tell it.
Morbid maybe. So be it.
This is just dribble. Everyone has their tale, their story. I don’t expect this to hold much interest to anyone really. Maybe a grandchild or great-grandchild will enjoy reading this one day. You never know.
The strange thing in recapping all this is that I don’t remember my mother holding me, kissing me or cuddling me. But she was never a very affectionate person. It just wasn’t her style. I do know she was thrilled I picked up walking at 9 months because she didn’t have to carry me after that.
And that’s it. That’s all there is to those first couple years.