It is the year 2036 and the New Mexico State Legislature has just concluded. Following one of the most successful and productive sessions in recent decades, I am sitting at my desk on the third floor of the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, reviewing a stack of documents. With staff coming in and out of my office, delivering last minute memo’s and messages, I begin to reflect on the last month, preparing to sign off on a comprehensive and balanced budget—the first of its kind in the state.
“Bipartisanship at its finest,” I thought.
This moment was incredibly special. Not only was this one of the best sessions I had participated in, but just last week, “The Tortilla Kid—A Novel,” was named the best Chicano Literature book, ever.
“If I were George Costanza,” I thought “I’d say that things could only get worse.”
I looked up from stacks of paper at the desk,
“Yes, Miguel?” I said.
“Your mom is on line 1.”
When I first started this blog, it was an opportunity to not only gain some
writing experience, but it was an opportunity to set the record straight about my mom and the Jesus tortilla. Because so much has been written about her in the last 38 years; some good, mostly bad, I felt compelled and a personal responsibility, to make it right. In fact, just last week I got an email from a gentleman asking if they could use my mom’s story for an upcoming show on the history of food!
But with this blog, I also promised some “coming of age” stories, and to be honest, I have not necessarily held up to my end of the bargain. But truth be known, there is so much to tell and I will do my best this coming year. That is my new years resolution.
As the youngest of the family, and born into this life surrounding La Tortilla, I have always wondered about whether my life would have been different had the tortilla never happened. I asked my mother this question awhile back. But I will leave that story for another time.
For now, I would like to think that this story, this life–was all supposed to happen, in this very way. It made my mom who she is today at 75 and it has made me who I am. For better or for worse.
Since this is a “year in review,” there are a few things to share about 2015 in order to get this party started. More importantly, you must also understand the kind of relationship I have with my madre. We are very close. I share everything with her; all my thoughts, hopes and dreams. But no matter how much she loves and believes in me; my work and commitment to community, social justice and to writing, none of it will ever make her as happy as seeing her youngest daughter married and with children.
Cue novela theme song, written and produced by Pepe Aguilar
I am turning 37 years old this year.
I researched the number 37 to see if there was any significance and the only thing I found, according to Wikipedia, is that 37 is “the number the average person answers when asked to guess a number between 0 and 100.”
I thought that was important to mention since we were on the subject.
Unlike my mother, (and most Mexican mothers) aging is not an issue for me. In fact, for most of 2015, there were times that I would respond enthusiastically with, “I am 38 years old!,” when someone asked how old I was. Fortunately for me, (and maybe I should thank the super powers of the La Tortilla) I have been told as of late that I look 28, so there’s that. But as my mom likes to remind. I am NOT 28 years old.
I recently left my job to consult and have committed to part-time writing.
Because, well…I gotta make that “best ever Chicano Literature” book happen, ju know?
When I told my mom my plans, she made the sign of the cross and said she would be praying a rosario for me.
I am, in fact, running for office.
Two weeks ago, I officially announced my candidacy for Governor of….just kidding. But seriously, I am running for an open House seat in the New Mexico State Legislature. I am incredibly honored to have this opportunity to run. It is something that I know I will be great at.
Full disclaimer: Because this blog is about my “coming of age,” there may be some talk about my experience with the campaign, but it will never become political.
It will be more about, like the time I told my mom I was running for office.
My mom is super old school. In twenty years, when she is 95 years old, I will be floating on air because I am serving as Governor of New Mexico as well as holding the position of “internationally renowned Chicana author.” Meanwhile, my mom, will more than likely remind me that I am 58 and still single.
Years ago, any mention of my marital status would have bothered me. I could be shaking Senator Barack Obama’s hand at a gala he was speaking at in Washington, DC (true story) and the only thing my mom would ask about was,
“Oye, y no conocistes a alguien?”
“No mom. I didn’t meet anyone.”
Nowadays, I just let it slide. In fact, it happened again a few weeks ago when I finally mentioned to her that I had some big news.
Her eyes lit up and she smiled.
“Mama! Voy correr para la Casa de Representantes!”
To be clear, it is not because she is not excited. The only thing my parents have ever really known is familia y trabajo. They were married early in life, had a handful of children, all through hard work and esfuerzo. So they expect their children to do the same. I totally get it.
I mean, come on? It could be worse. I could get the ol’ response of,
“Como que vas a correr para oficinia? Lo que debes hacer es poner te a trabajar! Mira!”
Which leads me to the next part of my story.
The story of how I met someone. Kind of.