Fragments of Mom and Ita
1. 1. A running joke, “Ya se te olvidó que tienes, Mamá,” has morphed into a fond memory. My family, a group now consisting of my mom, my sister, and my uncle, has turned the phrase into one of standard family sayings. A repeated phrase, when you haven’t called someone in a couple days, “Ya se te olvidó que tienes hermana?”, “Ya se te olvidó que tienes hija?” etc. The use of the phrase began with my grandma, Ita. She called my mom on a daily basis.
2. 2. “Who’s calling? I asked.
We watched a movie in my Mom’s room, my eight year old body curled on my side towards my Mom. It was one of the few days she was off from work. We still had our pajamas on. This morning she called the school and told them I wasn’t feeling well. The Fritos I just ate heavy in my stomach.
“Aye, it’s your Ita,” she looked at the display on the phone and set it down.
“Gorda! Dónde estás? Hablame,” her voice crackled over the answering machine speaker.
I looked up at her.
“I’ll call her later,” she said turning back toward the T. V.
3. 3. Ta Taaa Ta Ta! The horn honked outside. I had to hurry.
“Bye, Ita!” I grabbed my backpack and the mail that still came to her address.
“Aye, pero tengo unas cosas para tu Mamá.”
I looked at her and began to turn towards the door, “I’ll tell my mom.”
I paused before stepping out onto the porch, but heard the honk again.” Ta Taa Ta Taaaaa!
“MOM! ITA HAS SOME THINGS FOR YOU!”
“ITA HAS SOME THINGS FOR YOU!”
Our voices echoed off the concrete and bounced off each porch on the block until it disappeared at the intersection of California St. and Brown. She paused, her brown Blazer idle in the street, pushed at her hair, “JUST BRING IT WITH YOU!”
I looked back at the shadowed screen door to see my grandma already bringing out a plastic bag in her hand.
“Le compré una blusa en el town. Dile que me hable, si le gustó. No, sé por qué todo el tiempo tiene tanta prisa.”
4. 4. It is odd to realize there was life in your family before you were born. Before I was born many things happened. They tell me the stories. My Mom told me how Tio always got away with everything, while she always had the brunt of it. Your uncle, she said, he could do no wrong, and me, I have to bail your Ita out of her messes, like that time…
My Tio told me how my Mom always took everything too seriously. You know how your Mom can be uptight? She wasn’t always like that, you know before, before she married your Dad, my Mom helped her a lot. With Angie, and babysitting, just like she does with you. Your Mom was just a kid when she had Angie, mija. But you know your mom, just always have to prove everyone wrong.
My sister, Angie said, Ita always took care of me just like with you. Mom’s just always so hard on Ita you know? She takes for granted that Ita doesn’t have to help. She forgets all the things Ita does for her and focuses on stuff from twenty years ago. Oh! Tio’s her favorite. Oh! She wouldn’t have that house if it wasn’t for me! Oh...
5. 5. "Ya se te olvidó que tienes Mamá?” I heard my Mom’s through the phone.
“Haha, Hi Mom,” I forced the laughter.
“What are you doing mija?”
“You know, working Ita, I mean Mom,” I couldn’t resist.
“Si chistosita, It’s because I haven’t hear from you in days. Your Ita? She always exaggerated everything. I talked to her sometimes three times a day, and there she was telling your uncle and your sister she hadn’t talked to me. Se olvidaba no mas cuando le convenía a esa señora.”