In The Smile of a Child

Oct 7, 2015 by Rita Pizarro

Family Rita PizarroJuly is the Month Tommy and I were married 6 years ago, soon after my father passed away. Both my sister and I announced our weddings before his passing. My sister’s wedding was just a few weeks before his death, mine a month after. My Father Nicolas was a very intelligent man with very high standards for honesty, respect and doing the right thing for others and for ourselves. Honesty starts within, doing the right thing whether someone is watching or not, nothing to do with being caught but with self-respect and knowing that most important being true to ourselves will give us peace and confidence in going forward in life, whatever decisions need to be made as long as they are true to our principles and respect for others.

Tommy and I had been together for about 4 years before we decided to marry, and we never thought we would have children, I have my daughter Daniela from my first marriage and that was our family, small but good. I had originally thought of having two children but things in life didn’t work out as planned, Dani was already quite grown to have a baby brother or sister and I was too involved with my career plus Tommy never really wanted children, so life went on, with the three of us; until a few years ago when a little angel came to our lives, he was just there at our house one day, the nephew of our housekeeper.

His name is Angel and he is a survivor, his tough beginning did not break him but made him stronger. We connected with him immediately, and he is Tommy’s true son: Athletic, fast learner, funny and multitalented. Tommy taught him to ride a motorcycle, he learned in minutes; I taught him how to swim, he now swims like a fish, Dani taught him to ride horses, he is a natural with animals and within a month he could gallop the beach bareback or backwards, he can be seen standing from the horse, hanging from it, jumping into the water: conventional riding? Not necessary.

We went to the beach together, riding motorcycles in the sand dunes, riding horses, we went fishing, we went to the fair, watched sunsets in the Malecon, ate a lot of ice cream cones, (Angel sure does like ice cream!) our family was renewed and revived, everything looked new and the brightness of his smile brightened our days, we did more things together, we laughed more. We realized what mattered in life: being together, having fun together, supporting each other and having precious moments.

Then one day he went away to a children’s home, as his aunt couldn’t care for him anymore we missed him and decided his future was not as bright without us in his life and our family was not the same without him in our lives. We needed each other, he needed us to have a real family: Mom Dad and a Sister, a home, an education and to be able to develop his talents. We needed him to give us purpose, joy and a new meaning in life. We had to adopt him. We had to have him back in our house, not as a guest anymore, but as our son, so without any previous experience in the matter we started the journey, we stumbled and fell, we got back up, we made mistakes; it’s been years, we had doubts we had moments when we thought it wouldn’t be possible and the legalities of it all seemed to never end. Angel is now back home, we are a family again and in July 2015 very close to our anniversary Angel became officially our son. We have a new birth certificate, we gave him a new name: Nicolas Angel in honor to my Dad and so he can be called Nick. I am so proud of my son, I am so happy with my family. Daniela has a new purpose in life, a new companion, a friend, a brother to confide in. Tommy has a son to ride motorcycles with, to build things, to teach martial arts and be active and get out and do what he does.

Not everything is peaches and cream, we have issues, he is now 12, he’s a pre-teen and like every kid his age there are trials at this stage. We also have some cultural differences, our life experiences are very different, even our language sometimes doesn’t quite connect being that he is from Northern Mexico and Dani and I are from the south, he does a very good job at leaving his past behind but sometimes it still gets in the way of the present and the future. He had a really rough beginning, some days are tough, some days are even tougher, some days are great, some days we want to freeze the moment and keep it forever because it was just such a beautiful time. I suppose it is the same with any child and with any family. Few people decide to adopt an older child, it is usually quite challenging since they have a lot of their personality and formative years well set in. Or our family this was just perfect, he is friends with Daniela now 19 and even though she is a bit of a Mom-Sister they play video games together, watch movies, snorkel, ride horses and even go to Tae Kwon Do together. I am a busy Mom and work a lot but since he is 12 I can still work and have a family. Tommy doesn’t speak Spanish, Nick Angel didn’t speak English, now Tommy speaks a bit of Spanish and Nick’s English has improved considerably, they can now have small conversations. Nick’s English is getting better every day, they both speak a universal language of Love and acceptance of each other’s differences.

In our culture mixed home we sometimes speak only Spanish at the dinner table, leaving Tommy with the understanding of a few words here and there and sometimes we speak all in English leaving Nick wondering if he did really understand what we said, we know he will soon understand everything we say in English. There are lines in the kitchen wall with dates that tell us how he has been growing, we painted the kitchen once so not all the lines are there but he has grown quite a lot, he has gone through many pairs of shoes and many clothes, I used to buy him size 8 now the size 12 I bought didn’t fit him, he is growing a lot and I can’t wait to see him all grown up to be good man with good principles, a good education, a purpose and the knowledge that there is a family that loves him, forever.

There is a long road ahead of us, we expect it to have joy and sorrow, good times and difficult times but it will always be filled with Love, companionship and support.

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