Deep Roots

I grew up in a very tight knit family. As of 2016, my daughter and I are 2 out of 124 on my dad’s side. We are part of the Rivera-Santiago bloodline. Thanks to The Peculiar Sister for putting together this gorgeous piece for our family. 

Why is this significant? Over the past year, life has changed drastically. I allowed myself to be convinced that I was completely and utterly alone. Doomed to be stuck in a situation I no longer could live with or doomed to go against the current alone. Either way, I convinced myself no one from the 122 listed could help in any way. Keep in mind this is just my dad’s family, while my mother has another hundred and then some to choose from. Why, for even a moment, I allowed myself to be deceived that I was totally alone in this process is beyond me. Again this is clearly from the outside of the pit looking in.

My daughter will know that our roots run deep and that with a family like ours, she’ll never ever be alone. We fight, argue, and disagree with one another, but we love, laugh, and defend each other that much more. I’m realizing that not many families can say that.

My beauties from left to right, The Peculiar Sister, my daughter, me, and The Pretty Sister. Without them, I’m not sure what I would do. We are so different, but encourage one another like no one else. In my darkest moments, they came to the rescue and helped to pull me out of what I thought was a bottomless pit. To openly admit to them the feelings of complete hopelessness and helplessness free from judgment was truly liberating and only further strengthened our relationship for them to see that their superhero oldest sister that comes to everyone’s rescue still was in need of support. Most importantly, they reminded me that my roots in The Valley run deep. We have plenty of support from hundreds of family, friends, and acquaintances all over the East Coast. I am forever thankful for them and the wisdom they share with my daughter and me.

I will warn you now to grab a tissue, if stories tend to pull at your heartstrings. Today, I was able to see a glimpse of how aware my daughter is of what’s going on as I packed up the kitchen. My heart ached so bad as I pulled countless items from the cabinets and drawers that I couldn’t stop my tears from falling. Here I was packing up another box and repeating my beloved mantra, “One more box today. One day closer to freedom.” That mantra did nothing to settle my uneasy heart as I anxiously awaited a call from the manager at the apartment complex we visited. I thought my little one was busy with her dolls, but before I could wipe away the tears, she asked, “Mami, what happen?! Why you poniendo (putting) the kitchen stuff outside the gaveta (drawer)? Why your eyes look so squeezy (pretty sure she meant watery)?” I explained to her once again how we are going to have a new home and that the place we live would soon belong to her daddy. She simply hugged me and said, “Mami, it’s going to be okay. I can help. *holding two sets of tongs* Look, we take this one, and we leave this one here for Papi.” She helped sort through everything in the kitchen and once everything was finished, she asked, “Now your heart feels better, Mami? It’s going to be me and you and my babies and we gonna be okay. Te amo (I love you).” A few hours later, I received a call saying I was approved for our new home. Everything is going to be just fine. 

Until next time,



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