My Tia is The Best Tia

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 πŸ˜‰

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.

My 18th birthday, 2 months after I moved to the states, with Cristina, my uncle Aris, and my grandparents.

My 18th birthday, 2 months after I moved to the states, with Cristina, my uncle Aris, and my grandparents.

She was a fashionista and we made outfits for my birthday.

She was a fashionista and we made outfits for my birthday.

Maid of Honor at my wedding.

Maid of Honor at my wedding.

Cristina with her daughter, Gabi, and my son, Daniel

Cristina with her daughter, Gabi, and my son, Daniel

Cristina now :)

Cristina now πŸ™‚

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Ode to Joy

A friend on Facebook shared how she is going to pay tribute to meaningful people in her life, not after they die, but while they are still alive. I deeply appreciate this reminder to give words of gratitude and encouragement to those who have blessed me throughout my life. Therefore, I am purposing to write a tribute a week. If I keep up with this goal, I will have expressed my appreciation to 52 of the amazing people in my life, by this time next year πŸ™‚

The first person I have decided to pay tribute to is my friend Joy Osborn. She is my boss. And she is a keeper.

Joy is enthusiastic, and her energy and positive attitude are infectious. In spite of pregnancies and babies, Joy doesn’t skip a beat. She compliments me every time I wear my yellow jeans and she answers my emails at 2:00 AM (I mean, really, does anyone else have a boss who does that)? She greets me with a smile every time I see her in class and her bit of sarcasm suits me well ;). She wears miss-matched socks to camp, comes up with crazy games for the kids, and bends over backwards to make sure everything is well planned and delivered. Joy has helped me when I didn’t know what to do, covered for me when I dropped the ball, and even sewn costumes for my students… because God knows that me and the sewing machine do not get along all that great.

Thank you, Joy, for your love for God, your commitment to integrity, and your passionate dedication to your job and the people in it. You have influenced me way more than you probably are aware you have. In fact, I have subconsciously adopted your way of communicating, by often ending my sentences with “You know what I mean?”

I’m gonna miss you when you move away. If it weren’t because your equally awesome husband is waiting for you elsewhere, I would try to sabotage your departure…. somehow.

I couldn’t find a picture of you and me, but I did find this one from the day you made your way into the hair and makeup room to help with Elise’s “White Witch” hair extensions.

This is not my picture, but has been all over the internet. I just “borrowed” it from you, Joy lol. This picture says it all!