Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shocking, simply shocking

This past weekend, we attended a mass for my sister-in-law, Roxana, but this was no ordinary mass.

We arrived at the Carmelite convent in Hialeah just after 8 am on Sunday. The day started off okay. We got to see Roxana, already dressed in her nun garment and veil. WOW. They cut her hair the night before, so she had a boy cut underneath. Her beautiful hair was gone. She looked peaceful and she seemed happy. The family took turns greeting her and taking pictures outside. Then they called her inside.

This is when things got a bit out of the norm for me. My in-laws were the only ones allowed in at first and I found it odd that they did not let my husband (her brother) or her grandma Meri go in as well. A few minutes later, they allowed everyone to enter. We went into a narrow hallway and they did this process where she carried out a wooden baby Jesus, they spoke about what was taking place, she said some words, my in-laws took part in some of it, etc. and then the door was closed and she went in with the group of Carmelite nuns.

Once we went into the small church where the priest was starting the mass, Roxana was behind a white criss-cross gate. There was no access to her anymore. During the mass, I couldn't help but keep looking behind me at the nuns, and particularly at Rox. I was teary-eyed the whole time... and then I broke down. Several others were teary-eyed, too. My in-laws carried over some bibles on a plate as part of the mass, they read something that essentially said they give their daughter to serve the Lord, and then Rox said her vows. It was hard to watch. I felt like I was at a funeral, and then I felt guilty for feeling like this. At the end, Richard broke down and I just held him tight. Yet the volunteers and members of the church that surrounded us were applauding and congratulating my in-laws and everyone else! I didn't get it. We were in pain, and they were happy. Nothing made sense at that moment. I remember being angry, and then asking God to please forgive me for being angry because I felt that they were taking Rox away from her family. She was behind a gate... now what?

When the mass ended, we went outside to the hallway, and the nuns wanted to meet everyone and talk to us (through the gate, of course, because they cannot come out). There was this one church volunteer that kept congratulating me and trying to talk to me and offered me food, and then asked why I wasn't happy with this, when I should be celebrating... and so on. I tried to ignore her, but she continued. And continued. That was my breaking point. I told her, "You're right. I am not happy. I don't understand this, and I cannot be happy about this so please leave me alone." After her chipper self got to me, I told Richard that I couldn't stay in there, that I felt uncomfortable and I needed to get out. I went outside and cried. Poor Richard came after me, and I told him that maybe I was just not religious enough, but this didn't make sense to me. The drama, the gate, the lack of contact. I sent him back inside and told him I was okay, that he should be with his family.

Later on, I was able to go back inside. I composed myself, kept calm and carried on. Although I think I was numb after that. Everyone sat around and spoke with the nuns, who were very sweet and friendly. They really made an attempt to speak to us all. Rox looked happy so there's nothing we could do, but wish her well.

I don't know what will happen, whether she will stay there the rest of her life or not, but I feel bad for my in-laws and for Richard. And I miss Rox, because even though I may not agree with the choices she's made, I know her faith is strong, that she has a good heart and that she loves her family. And I know that this is something she feels she needs to do right now for whatever reason.

We could visit her through the gate once a month, and we can write her and send photos. That's how we'll keep in touch with her...

Thanks for making it this far since this was a long, rambling post...


Friday, April 24, 2009

Hello friends. Wow, once again, there's a lot to share...

I finally got around to framing and hanging up my Kelly Rae Roberts print. I love her work!!! This one is titled "Faith."

Easter was great, although I missed seeing my family, especially Mami. We did get to welcome my sister-in-law, Roxana, home before she heads off soon to embark on a new journey in her life. She's becoming a Carmelite nun! We will miss her dearly...

Oops, I forgot about the price tags! LOL!

Roxana and her big brother, Richard

Rox and her dad, Pepe

Aunt Felina, Rox, Grandma Meri, Richard and their mom, Marita

Rox and her fave sister-in-law, me (OK, I'm her only SIL!)

And last, but certainly not least, we headed off to the Keys last weekend to celebrate Richard's birthday. We rented a gorgeous marina home in Marathon and we had a fabulous time. Our BFF's, Jorge and Yayi, joined us along with D', Roxana, and Richard's parents came down for the day. Here's a sampling of the many photos we shot! I feel a mini coming together... :-) Maybe I will finally be inspired to create something!

That's all folks! I have come down with a nasty stomach bug and it's keeping me in bed, so off to bed I go... again!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to my honey bunny!

Today is my hubby's birthday! I cannot believe how quickly time has gone by. I met Richard in Jan. 2003. I had seen him on Match.com during the holidays and was immediately interested because of his beautiful smile and bright eyes (and those lashes, WOW!). We started dating and traveling together! We had a lot in common, but we were also very different. He was very religious and involved in the Catholic church; he was a missionary who traveled to the Dominican Republic to care for the poor and he loved working with children in rural areas who did not have much. He was a Republican with Cuban parents and he grew up with two sisters in a close knit family. His parents were still married. They had family dinners and get togethers every week and they were loud! Me? Well, I didn't really attend church regularly, I was a lifelong Democrat, Puerto Rican with a very "Americanized" family (all my aunts married gringos), raised by my grandparents since my parents separated before I was born, had no siblings and had pretty liberal views about life... BUT we still had similar values and we wanted the same things in life and that was what brought us together. We were married on Oct. 23, 2004.

Richard is not perfect, but then again, neither am I! In fact, he drives me crazy half of the time! LOL! But he has such an honest, tender heart and a giving soul and he is caring, hardworking and he loves me just the way I am. He will also be an excellent father to his little girl or boy one of these days. We can be silly together and we act just like kids in love sometimes. We often wonder what our children will think of our constant silliness. I love him to the moon and stars and back, with all the airplanes! :-) Happy birthday my love!