The New M.E. Generation











Spending time with my maternal grandparents was a good thing for me. In spite of my non-eating stage and occasional trips to the hospital, they still loved and accepted me for who I was. Maybe they went the extra mile for me because it was grandsons central.

They were also family-oriented and their marriage was an early lesson of what a good relationship could be. They also set the example that you may come from humble beginnings and still manage to achieve a comfortable life.

Most importantly, they were protecting my brother and me. They knew my parents’ marriage was on the rocks. I was too young then to label it as that, but I clearly remember seeing that my parents were never affectionate, nor expressed loving words towards each other (or the two of us), hold hands, or anything else, which was odd to me.

Then there were my paternal grandparents, the opposite of the others. My grandfather had married 3 times (widowed twice), being my grandmother the last wife. This relationship was probably more out of convenience of joining 2 prominent families together.

They didn’t sleep together in the same room and my grandfather wasn’t fond of women, including his spouse. He was definitely from the old school in which men didn’t display affection and ruled the home with authority.

My brother and I had to visit them (mainly for him) on Friday and Sunday afternoons. We would be dressed to the nines for every time (and if we weren’t, my dad would hear it), and as soon as we walked through the door, walked directly to my grandfather’s room where he would sit on his antique rocking chair and worked out of a desk. We would bow our head slightly, say “bendición” (bless us), and he would tap them.

He gave us both a weekly allowance; $3 for my brother, $2 for me. He would also fill a small metal container with spare change that, at least, we could divide equally. But the inequality on the first was proof that on that house, men came first.

As for my dad, he was the last child and second son out of 5 daughters. Although he was a male, my aunts in later years commented that he happened at a time that his parents were too old to be having kids; that he was pretty much on his own because the other siblings were out of the home already, meaning he basically raised himself. Anything here sounds familiar?

It’s sad to think how this affected him in his marriage. From where I was standing, his relationship with my mom, and that with his own father, looked confusing and scary. All he could was go with the flow, and probably hope that tomorrow would be a better day. Pretty much how I’ve dealt with everything myself.

Even with my aunts and uncle, I could see a distant relationship with my grandfather. As much as they wanted to be close to him, there was this coldness that separated them.

And what my grandmother could only do was just sit on the sidelines and watch it all happen. It must have been horrible marrying someone who probably treated you like crap and still had to give him children.

At least she channeled her affection on her children and grandchildren. She would play the piano, which introduced me to music. She also kept these Danish cookies in the fridge for me, which I would eat while sitting in a small rocking chair in the balcony and listening to her sing to me: “Arroz con leche se quiere casar, con una viudita de la capital. Que sepa tejer, que sepa bordar, que ponga la aguja en su campanal.”

I still remember being surrounded by the garden and the simplicity of those moments that you later take for granted.

There were also other memorable times, like my grandfather’s stories when he came to college in the U.S., and my father teaching me how to play hopscotch, among others.

Everything left a print within me, like recognizing that I still like to sit in a rocking chair and enjoy eating butter cookies from time to time.

Perhaps it’s recognizing that, in spite not understanding so many things, others did the best that they could; that I miss them sometimes and wished they would still be around; that even though we say that we will do things differently, we mirror them a lot more than we bargained for, not realizing it until our world is rocked to the core.

It’s learning to sit back and appreciate the good that’s in front of us; it’s enjoying that moment before we have to get up and go face the unknown.

It’s understanding that in spite that our lives have been difficult, there were those close to us that had it more complicated, who gave a lot of themselves in the hope of making ours better than what they had.

For better of worse, in the good and the bad, it is what it is: family.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

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The rude woman didn’t waste time showing up. I don’t even think it was nighttime when I met her with the roommate. And was I about to get a whiplash.

She was way older than him (like old enough to be his mom) and not that pretty. He wasn’t handsome either. His physical demeanor was one of ‘I don’t give a crap if you don’t like what I do’.

When he opened the room door I got a ‘rude awakening’. There was a nasty smell coming from it and barely any furniture. There was a mattress with no frame on the floor and the sheets were undone. Plus, the whole space looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in ages.

I couldn’t understand many things. For starters, how could you live in an apartment with someone who’s character was the total opposite of you, like in cleanliness and organization? Someone you have nothing in common with except sharing the same college major?

I’ve heard of ‘opposite poles attract’, but this made no sense. My roommates and I have had opposites that distinguished each person individually, but there were at least some denominators that could join us.

Second, what is this relationship, especially with the age difference? I didn’t know what a cougar was at the time, but I didn’t sense anything lovable between these two.

Although I wasn’t romantically involved with my friend, there was still a true love and respect for one another. It was hard for me to comprehend that these two were together for other reasons beyond affection.

In other words, do you have to go to such extremes to get what you want or need? What is it that people your own age are not giving you?

Then it got me thinking, what were the real motives behind the past relationship with my ex-boyfriend? Analyzing it now, yes, there was a true intention from him. But I was seeing someone else when I met him and this guy went after me in such a way I eventually fell for him.

Why? Because I was getting the emotional attention (way too much of it) that I so much needed at the time.

But as with everything, time is not always on your side. As I grew and felt I matured way beyond his years, I felt I needed other things from life that he could no longer provide. That’s why I eventually ended up with someone else who did give me what I needed.

So going back to these two, why are they here? What were they getting from each other?

And what about this guy and me? I know we’re good friends, but is it all he feels only reserved for friends? Do I feel the same? Did I make this trip just for me?

As far as I remembered, yes, my feelings for him were those reserved for great friends. And, yes, I’m here for me, but treating him the way he treats me, and most of all, I guarantee you I won’t leave any leftover messes behind.



“You studied journalism and then went to medicine?” asked I in a very contradictory tone. “They’re total opposite careers. How did that happen?”

“Like I said, I’ve always wanted to do many things although my final goal has always been to be a doctor and I know how to get to that, which I’m currently doing.”

I was listening to him, but my mind was wandering back to the past. Truth was, I felt envious of him. It was one of those moments where I felt I wished I could go back in time and experience his life.

I try not to think about it, but every so often I wonder what my life would be today if I had done it all differently. For sure, I wouldn’t be sitting with this guy questioning myself as to what am I doing.

“So, how’s your experience with the dating site?” asked he.

“Well, it’s an outcome that I wasn’t expecting. I’m getting contacted by many 20 and 40-something guys. Barely any in their 30’s.

Those my age look really old or worn out in comparison to me. Then those in their 20’s are good looking, but I want something long term.”

“So why did you agree to go out with me?”

“I just wanted to have an experience just like you. I know this is not to lead to anything. You and I want different things.”

“I plan to keep visiting it. I don’t do it full-time, just when I feel like it. I’m also getting contacted my military guys.”

“You shouldn’t get involved with those,” said he very seriously.

“I have a very good friend who is about to go serve. I know for a fact that they don’t come back the way they were. I respect him, but wished he wouldn’t do it.”

“You know what, everything’s a risk in life. Having a relationship with someone in the service is not the norm and the distance in-between even more. But I do know that there’s no way they could cheat on me and they’re very appreciative of people being supportive of them. Besides, I’m not involved with any one of them right now. Just considering that option if it were to happen.”

“I still think you shouldn’t do it.”

“And how much do you know about having a serious relationship? Have you ever been in one at that level? If there’s someone who has learned about this the hard way is myself.”

Of course, this guy looked at me with a face that he hasn’t been in one. The way he has described his life clearly shows he has concentrated his efforts in his future career.

And talking about what I should or shouldn’t be doing upset me. I’ve lived my life for others and now will do what I think is right for me, and will be responsible for the outcomes that my actions will bring.

After all, isn’t that the way life should be lived?



et cetera