You know when you wake up moaning and something in your insides just doesn’t feel right? like, you know it’s not hunger pain? I hate to wake up on a Monday when my dear hubby is still out of town thinking I have to juggle the day with a toddler on my own…AND get Montezuma’s revenge on top of that. Was it last night’s hotdog? or yesterday’s lunch burger? You guessed it. Probably both!
So I grunt and moan in silence so as not to wake up the baby, hoping that this buys me some time. I remember my father saying one last thing before they left last night, “if you need us, just call us, we’re here to help.” And I remember feeling that nudge in the heart that I usually feel when God tells me, “something’s about to happen”. And it’s as if time slows down for 2 seconds. I can’t explain it. This has happened to me since I was a little girl. That I know things are going to happen, but I don’t know how they’re going to happen.
So I remember what my dad says and I grunt, “Grrr. This is why he said that.” And sure enough. I don’t want to bother anyone. But he said it to remind me I can count on him. And he says it to remind me that I can count on HIM. That God I tell you…finding every possible way to remind me of His presence.
So I text and say, “bad. stomach. can you come? please pick up kid. take him to daycare.” My stepmom responds, the angel that she is, “will be there ASAP.”
My dad cracks me up. He comes with his home remedy, tried and true for years. I make a face. But first he’s sure to ask me, “you sure you’re not pregnant?!” I make another face as if to say, “whatever, hand me the alka seltzer.” He chuckles and continues to give me a hard time about I have to swallow the medicine water fast and in his presence or I just won’t do it. Why are you taking your time? Gotta be brave! Forget the bitter taste! Come on! He’s messing with me and makes me laugh. Which also makes my stomach muscles grunt in more pain.
I managed to have the kid ready to jump in the carseat and my angel-step-mom takes him to daycare. Meanwhile, I had not idea 2 hours of storytelling with my dad ensued. The first thing I noticed was that the house was quiet. (of course, the toddler-kid is gone). The 2nd thing I noticed: I hadn’t talked with my dad this long since before I gave birth. Always a kid crying or needing attention, you know?
I love listening to my dad. How we ended up talking about the time war broke out in Nicaragua in 1978, the year I was born, when we started talking about my stomach pains…I don’t know. OH yes! I know. He told me how he almost *died* of indigestion one time in Nicaragua for not watching what he was eating (pork, chicken, and shrimp all in one day). When the doctor at the hospital asked him what he had eaten that day and my dad told him, the doc asked, “really? and a bag of nails you didn’t want to eat as a side?” He made me laugh again. And the Alka-Seltzer’s were starting to work.
I’ve always told my dad he needs to write a book. He’s always wanted to. This year I think he’s finally going to sit down and record himself telling us stories, in order to start figuring out timelines, dates, events, and put them in order. Today I was captivated as he started telling me details of events I’ve always heard about…
…you were a few months old when you came home from Spain…Nicaragua was in chaos… I used to be the assistant to the Vice-Minister of Urban Planification… great job, big bucks, I thought I had it made…
…few days before the dictator, Somoza, decided to flee the country because the Sandinista Liberation Front was taking control neighborhood by neihborhood…my boss came and offered me an escape route…the promise of a job and safety in Miami, Florida, if I left with all of *them*. My dad said, “no thanks. I’m staying here. I’m not leaving my country. I’m not leaving my family.” and the promise to keep his mouth shut about “The General” leaving in his military plane with all his monies and all his peoples…
…then I was at church one Sunday and got a radio-call from someone saying I shouldn’t attempt to drive home because the Sandinistas were taking over my neighborhood and killing all young men…my dad said, “should I follow my heart or should I follow this warning?” I wasn’t able to return home that day and had to flee elsewhere.
…by then about 20 members of our family were hunkered down in our other house and hearing bombs drop…every morning your aunt Cloty would say, “let us pray for guidance about what to do today.” and every morning the prayers and the decisions were life or death…
Life. or. Death.
My mother, Marivalle, with a 1 year old to care for, took the bold decision to disguise herself and get in her friend’s Volkswagon, and drove/walked 20 kms to reach my aunt’s house and try to get them out…cuz she had kids…cuz 500lbs bombs were being dropped in that neighborhood and they didn’t stand a chance.
HOLD IT. I have diarrhea today and I couldn’t even make it to the restroom without thinking how hard it is to care for a needy toddler while you got tha’ runs. And I had to call my family to come help me….But you’re saying that my mother did WHAT??!! and YOU LET HER??!! Dad responded. She was brave. We decided this together. If I went, they would kill me. I worked for the government. But a woman, a woman stood a *better* chance.
…so my mom and her friend, Mercedes, get all the way there amidst gunfire, trenches, and such, to find a stubborn sister in law with her 3 kids who didn’t want to leave her husband. Why husband staying? If I told you I would have to kill you. Anyways. Off they go AGAIN, thru all the crap to return home to her mother in law going, “where’s Zela? how come she’s not with you??!!”
All I asked was for help. I got 2 Alka Seltzers and a history lesson. I need to start the recorder next time my dad begins speaking. He’s getting old and sometimes the dates jumble in his head and we have to figure this out. It’s good to remember where you’ve come from. I grow strength out of it when I feel weak. I remember the lessons that others have learned in their own skin, and try to not make the same mistakes. I would like to say I’m a brave and bold woman. But I’m still thinking that I act like a wimp sometimes and the things that make me fear are nothing like 500lbs bombs falling around you. And am reminded that the enemy has always tried to instill fear in my little soul.
So today I’m thankful for the diarrhea and staying home from work in my cozy house with my cozy bed and my delicious Ritz crackers. Time alone with my dad. Precious time listening to courageous stories. Need to write them down, for the record, so I don’t forget the big God we have always served. Once I heard of Him. Now my eyes have seen Him.