Entry No. 2 from the Tributes Series: To my Tia (aunt) Cristina.
I was a scared teenager when I moved to the United States upon graduating from high school. I barely knew the language, I had no friends, I had never driven a car, much less in such a big city, and I had never fended for myself. Even though I had not grown up close to Cristina, and I barely knew her, she stepped into my life with a bang and helped me survive and assimilate to this new world of mine. She made me clothes that were in style (because styles vary from country to country and I looked like a dork in Miami standards), taught me to speak “Cuban”, and helped me laugh, even in the midst of such uncertainty and loneliness. I knew I could count on her. Her friendship became a life line, and she took hold of a permanent place in my heart.
Cristina is one of the funniest people I know. Last time I saw her in Miami, she greeted me with a joke, as always. She laughs at herself and she laughs at life. We recently grieved the loss of my uncle together. Cristina has the gift of truly embracing difficult emotions, while at the same time pointing out the light and comical. No one can cry and laugh in one sitting like she can. I’m so thankful for that!
Some of the things that I mostly admire about her, are her courage and perseverance. She has faced life and motherhood while single, working several jobs, even three at a time, relying solely on God for strength. When I grow up, I want to be like her 😉
Cristina, I’m so blessed to have you in my life. Though we rarely talk, I am confident that I can always count on you, and that you will rejoice with me when I’m happy and hurt with me when I cry. I am so proud of you! You are a wonderful mom, sister, daughter, and friend. I’ve witnessed your spiritual growth. I know my grandfather would have been so pleased to see you serving God with such passion and love.
I love you.