I was 16-years-old and chatting with my aunt, and my mom, one day after school. My aunt was going to be a grandmother for the FIFTH time. All of a sudden, she looks at me and says, “I’ve been talking to Karen (daughter-in-law), and we think you should be the baby’s godmother.”
I was FLOORED. First off, Hondurans do not take this godparent thing lightly. Being asked to become a godmother is being asked to go up to bat if, God FORBID, something happens to the mother. I looked at my mom in shock and excitedly said yes. It was an honor. Besides, I ADORE his mother – many times more than my cousin, ha!
My cousin had all daughters at this point, and we didn’t know the sex of the baby. They always waited. But, I remember thinking to myself, “I hope it’s a boy.” I have an older brother, I have always gotten along really well with boys, and I wanted to be the godmother of this boy the family longed for.
On November 28, 2003, Ronald Diego Benavides Nuñez was born. I had started buying gifts for him long before he arrived. I’d buy neutral colored outfits, but in my heart felt it would be a baby boy, my baby boy.
I went crazy. Frankly, I still go crazy. I actually refer to him as “my son.” Whenever I go to Honduras, the kid knows he has me wrapped. I tell everyone he’s the one person I can’t stay mad at and just turns me into mush. I cried when he called me “madrina” (godmother) for the first time. Anything Rondi needs/wants/desires from me, Rondi gets. But, as my mother always reminds me:
“No te enamores de lo ajeno.”
(Don’t fall in love with what doesn’t belong to you.)
It’s such a tough reminder, but she’s so right. He’s not mine. I’m not there day in and day out helping him with his homework. The emotional highs and lows that come with rearing him don’t apply to madrina. I show up every so often, shower him with love but am not there every day.
There’s a certain amount of guilt that comes with being one of the family members who is blessed enough to live in the United States. Honduras isn’t the safest place, and it’s very poor, but it is beautiful. If he did belong to me, he’d be here. But he doesn’t, so he’s not.
Anytime I get myself riled up about not being informed that he’s sick, or that he needs something, I remind myself of my mom’s words. He may not be mine completely in theory, but I’m possessive and territorial, so I will say he is until HE tells me otherwise.
And I think he’s ok with that.
Victoria Moll-Ramirez is a broadcast journalist based in New York City. She is originally from Miami, FL and had the great fortune of being raised by the sassiest, spunkiest, wisest, most hysterical Honduran woman in the world. Victoria’s mother, Bélgica, is 60-years-old, resides in Little Havana (Miami) and enjoys a good margarita accompanied by a heartrending ranchera. Victoria blogs about her mom’s funny and wise sayings on, “In My Mother’s Words.”