I’m guessing that you probably woke up today the same as any other day; stretching away the sleepy feeling that lingers when you have an important event that prevented you from a full night’s rest. Am I right?
I don’t often get the opportunity to wake up in the same house with you, but as the fates would allow it, this morning as I was leaving I noticed that you were sleeping on the couch. Should I? Shouldn’t I? I slowly walked to where you were sleeping. I made sure not to make any noise so that I wouldn’t wake you up. You were so bundled up in the blanket that it was hard to see your face. The way you were wrapped up reminded me of the blanket you had when you were a little girl. You wouldn’t go anywhere without that blanket…it was your security, your best friend, your EVERYTHING. And there you were on the couch bundled securely as though you knew that once that blanket came off, everything about your life would change..
Walking away with tears in my eyes, I began to reminisce on your childhood.
It was after I got in my car that I realized that this was not going to be an ordinary day for any of us, because those of us who have been by your side throughout this journey know how hard you have worked and how many hours of sleep you have given up in order to walk in today’s ceremony.
And that is about the moment that I lost it. Seriously, Animal, I cried in my car for the entire time that it took me to get home. Then I cried at home while I showered. What a baby I am…but you know how the Ramirez women are—strong on the outside and MUSH on the inside.
My dear Animal. My first Godchild. My not-so-little niece. I love you to the moon and back and I am incredibly proud of the young lady you have grown to be. May your desire to be successful in all you do never die. May your path be filled with challenges that continue to help you grow. May your cell phone always be charged with my number on speed dial. And May your heart be full of fire for education, because without fire we don’t find motivation.
You are your mother’s daughter, Sarina. She is a champion and she is your greatest friend in life…I come a close second. Know that my love for you, though different than the love your mother has for you, is FIERCE and undying. You have witnessed it as long as you have lived, and have felt it since I first felt the kicks in your mommy’s tummy.
You know that I always say that you are smart because I am smart (and you should be thankful that I passed those genes to you). You will undoubtedly make some of the same mistakes that we have made and you will undoubtedly learn the same lessons we did from those mistakes, but know that this family will ALWAYS support you in all you do and in every decision you make. We love you, Animal. I love you, Animal.
I can’t wait to watch you graduate today. I will sit up there and watch you proudly grab that diploma, even though I know that it is a gateway for your new journey…a journey that will open up roads for you at UCSD. The places you will go, little girl, with that diploma and your tenacity will be the title of your future book. I can’t wait to read it!
No matter where you are, always remember that your Nina loves you more than life itself. I heard your roar the moment you were born and I knew you were destined for greatness at that precise moment. Go get ‘em, Animal!