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VALENTINA

I love all my nieces and nephews, I love them more than traveling, more than a good night sleep, I love when they wake me up, I love their dirty fingertips on my clothes and their sticky chubby fingers, I love when they kiss me and drool all over my face, I love them when they are noisy, I love their bare feet running on the grass, I love them when spill juice everywhere and play with my hair, I love their tiny faces and their bellies. I am for ever grateful with my siblings and cousins for letting me be a part of their lives even when they think I’m crazy, I wouldn’t allow it any other way, they know that.
4 years ago the only cousin I have that looks like I do sneeze and Valentina was born,  a tiny monkey, so tiny no one thought she was going to make it, she needed a few more months in the oven. I was living far away, where is very cold and there is barely any sunshine, I was playing make believe and pretending I was other people, hoping I would find myself in one of them, that, of course, didn´t happen, but we´ll talk about that some other day.
Many months went by, Valentina was fully cooked, she spent a long time in a glass oven, well it was really a transparent medical material baby oven; I got tired of looking for myself in the spirits of people that never really existed so I got on a plane and flew back to the hot beach that watched me grow, I went to visit my cousin that can´t cook, my niece that is really a little star, my nephew who is a prince and was born the same day as me, and my grandma, the strong one, she is so strong she let my grandpa go back to the sea even if missing him would break her heart, because she knew that a merman belongs to the sea, he is a merman, she is a witch, my favorite kind of witch.
That day my cousin gave me a gift, because of her I want to be a mother one day but I never thanked her in her language.
when I held Valentina she looked right through me, she got inside my skin and hugged my bones so hard she broke my rib cage and my heart came out of my body.
That day I learned that:  Neither of the books I love, or cameras, or standing ovations, or planes, or my thousand lovers, or the lives I’ve lived and the one ones I wish I did could ever fill my lungs of air the way her little hand playing with my ear did.
Now that little monkey walks, runs, talks to animals, eats cookies, makes a lot of noise and is a temper  tantrum queen, she is not a baby anymore, she is big girl, and every time she lays her head on my chest and her sticky fingers play with my ear, my heart comes out of my ribcage,  and I feel alive again.
Thank you Giselle for Valentina

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