I called my mom today to invite her to lunch, my treat. But before I got to the "my treat" part I decided to mess with her a little. I told her she had to pay for herself and me. Big. Mistake. Before I could get out the "I'm just joking" part, she got extremely loud and went off on me in the way that only Puerto Rican mothers can do. She went on and on very loudly until I finally had to hang up and call her back.
Now Puerto Ricans are loud in general. (I'm only half PR and I'm still louder than most people I know). But PR moms are just ridiculously loud. Especially when excited or agitated. And they're a very animated bunch as well... arms & hands flying everywhere, talking a million miles a minute, large eyes getting larger, expressing everything they're yelling... Yes yelling, because honestly, even when they're just speaking normally it sounds as if they're yelling at you. They also mispronounce every other word. Hobby Lobby gets turned into Holly Hobby. Wal-Mart gets turned into Wal-Marks (in fact, they add an unnecessary "S" to many words, except for words that already have an "S" or "S sound." Like Publix... that gets turned into Public). FaceBook becomes SpaceBook and MySpace becomes MyFace. Netflix gets turned into Nextflick (thanks to my cousin for that one). Rotisserie gets turned into Rotristitty and so forth and so on. Seriously, give 'em a word and they'll invent a new one that sounds suspiciously like the old one and means the same exact thing. And don't even try to correct them, because they'll just look at you like you're stupid and tell you "Callate! That's what I said!"
And they're especially loud when it comes to embarrassing things... like they'll say (very, very loudly) that something is too expensive or really ugly when you're out shopping. Or if you're in public and ask where the restroom is they'll direct you there while announcing loudly, "Do you have to go shoo-shoo? The bathroom over there." (No "S" on bathroom). And if you ask them to please be a little quieter, they just get louder and tell you "Callate!" again and make you feel guilty that "you're embarrassed" to be seen out in public with your poor old mother.
They're also a tough bunch, those PR moms. I learned that the hard way. My mom was always the softy when I was growing up and I can only recall one time that she whooped my culo. I'm talking hard-core POWPOW! I was 16 or so and came in the house very late one night showing my butt and being hatefully mean to my little brother. She kept telling me to stop, but I kept bucking up to her... until she body slammed me onto the bed, pinned me down and wailed on my arse until it was black and blue. I never, ever bucked up to her again... and my brother gives me hell about that to this day. Now mind you, my mommy is not even 5 ft tall. She's the shortest non-midget person I've ever met and she bested my tough, mean teenage self. So yeah, like I said, those PR moms are tough. And don't even get me started on PR grandmothers and their chanclas...
PR moms are tough, but are also the most giving, loving women I've ever met. My mom, her mom, her sisters, her titis, her cousins, (any of the PR moms in my family), would give a stranger the shirts off their backs if needed. When their children need them, they go above and beyond the call of motherly duty. When I was growing up some of my family was poor, (my mom included), and those women would literally use their last dollar to buy food, (and go hungry themselves), so that their kids, or even their nieces & nephews, wouldn't. When a child was bad and too much for one mom to deal with, aunts would step in and take 'em in for a bit, doling out tough love and good food until they straightened up (or got tired of them and sent them back). But it really was a village raising children.
My mom is still as loving and giving as she was when I was growing up. And still just as tough. She recently broke up a little fist fight between my son and my nephew... flinging both of them across the room, much to their amazement. She is still overly loud. Still asks me if I have to poop when we're in public. Still mispronounces every word imaginable. But I wouldn't change her for anything, because tell you this: I would give anything to have her mother back beating my sassy culo with her worn out chanclas, so I can't even imagine life without my own little PR mommy. I hope to have her around to yell at and embarrass me for a very long time.
(Being serenaded by Elvis. I just love her happy mommy face!)
Photo By: I don't know