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Black Velvet
December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Home » featured, foto + video, latest video post

I have a Latin Mother

Submitted by on June 5, 2009 – 6:13 am41 Comments

mami_miami_1972My poor mother.

She has had to deal with me as her daughter — cranky, bossy, hard-headed. And, today I am posting a video about her. One day, it will be a novel, for sure, but today it is a video.

My mother truly is a wonderful, strong and fierce woman. A force of nature. She can be all soft, warm breezes or gale force winds.

And so, we lock horns and we often bicker about my inability to check-in regularly — and in regularly, I mean like every 36 hours, or less. She tells me she worries if she hasn’t heard from me. I tell her not to freak, the local hospital surely will find her if they need to. She doesn’t like that and tells me to “por Dios, no digas eso!”

For the last few weeks, I have been recording the messages she leaves me. I find them hilarious and sometimes maddening. She knows this, so this is not news to her, or to my father, who also believes he should send out search parties if my brother and I haven’t called in two days.

I remind them both — often — that I am more than 40-years-old and I have canas to prove it, but they don’t hear it.

I have asked non-Latin friends if their parents freak out if they don’t call. Most say no, and a few have told me they can go weeks without talking to their parents.

What? Seriously? My mother would charter a plane just to get here and pull my ear. Plus, that’s just not right, is it? You do have to call Mami more than that. It’s a cultural question, for sure.

I am the Mami of a 5-year-old — also hard-headed and bossy and semi-cranky and growing up way less Latin than I did. So, the heavens help me because I know one day, it will be me speed-dialing her grown-up self going “Hallo? Hallo? Halloooo!”

Me la van a pagar.

Payback is hell.

(And Mima, thank you for putting up with me. Te quiero mucho.)

Share, por favor!


  • Cigar Mike says:

    I have so many pics like this. Whomever took it must have been like my dad who shot medium format roll film in those days which produced these square photos. Most of my images have faded as the negatives have long disappeared.

    This picture reminds me of my old home in old North Miami from the 1960′s and 1970′s.

    Great Post.

  • Tere says:

    I live 7 houses – 7. houses. – from my parents, and while they (thankfully) never show up unannounced, if they drive by and it’s late at night, you best believe my phone will be ringing!

    The days that I have Max, we usually go by for dinner or at least for a quick visit. So days that I don’t have him, I take a break and am basically MIA. When I go more than 2 days like that, you best believe my phone will be ringing!

    Pero eso de WEEKS without talking to mami and papi? Never! Most definitely a cultural thing!

    That picture, by the way, is spectacularly awesome!

  • Carrie says:

    I love hearing these stories! Ay, Tere — 7 houses! You are brave! (And lucky, too)

    The picture: Our first house in Perrine. I can’t remember who took the picture, but I have albums full of those square fotos.

    That is my mom doing the hot pose and that is a 5-year-old me doing the rabbit ears. The other two children are our neighbors, whom we still are friends with after all these years.

    (My mom hasn’t yet called today, so she must not have seen this…Ay, lo que me espera!)

  • Monica says:

    Whatever. I moved half-way across the country to get away from mine (just kidding – it was really for my husband’s job) but I think that yesterday I had at LEAST 6 calls. And if I ignore the phone ringing? She’ll try the cell, then back to the home, then back to the cell. I think she just hangs up and speed dials right back. In a 30 minutes period (my phone was on vibrate while I was busy at an appt) I had 6 missed calls.
    Then she gets mad when I snatch up the phone shouting, “WHAT?!? WHAT’S THE MATTER?!?!?!?” Seriously. I’m 36 years old.
    Ya’ll don’t know how lucky you’ve got it.

  • Juju says:

    I’m writing this with tears in my eyes.
    That is so my mom.
    What a great video!
    And so true non-Latinos never have these issues.
    But ya know I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  • Dariela says:

    Well, I think you all are really really really lucky, cause my mom lives with us! I knew it was going to be harder for me than for my husband (who doesn’t even speak spanish), we decided to do this just for a while, maybe 1 or 2 years but it’s going be longer. And after doing it for a year and a half I am ready to STOP! I want my life back!! And it’s not that she is always wanting to be included in activities, it’s the fact that she’s here all the time and only knowing that she’s here makes my decisions go around her. Ok, I’ll stop, I think I need help. But I still have about a couple of years more with her. How do I survive??? And I’m 37.

  • Silvia says:

    LOL!! I have to say that I’m the latina mom but with my own mother!!! we live in different countries and I missed her so much, sometimes I called her like three times a week!! and what does she do?, she send me an email!!, hahahahahahahaha

  • mami says:

    Life is a circle, here I am, 66 years young,when I was like you ladies,I had the same “problem”even when I lived in Jersey for many years, my mama called all the time,they both lived to be 90, and you know something,I had my parents home phone on speed dial at the office,and when mother passed on, it took me a while not to reach for the phone and realize she was no longer there.So, instead of complaining, be grateful to God that gave you parents that even if you are 100 years old, you are still their child.
    And to you,the one person that took my heart forever,thank you for your love.

  • nidia gralewski says:

    Hi Carrie, I’m a friend of your aunt Mirtha. We both graduated from Ada Merritt Jr. High School in June 1961 and then went on to Miami Senior High. Once in a while Mirtha sends me your stories and I just love reading them. Not only are the stories to which I can relate but also the clever way you write about them. I love the video and I, like your mother, get panicky if I don’t hear from my kids (one almost 33 and the other 22 who is in the Navy) every day. You see to us Cuban mamis our kids never get old – they are always our babies. I know your mom and she certainly is a fine lady. So please make her happy – CALL HER TWICE A DAY!

    Best regards,

    Nidia (Rodriguez) Gralewski

  • Tia Mirtha says:

    Mi sobrina, como me he reido con los dos videos. Keep them coming. I am not a Latin Mother… maybe a little bit.

  • Dianita says:

    Be careful, one day you are going to hear yourself, just like your own mother, that is going to be your worst day ever.
    But I understand that is going to be when Maria become to be a teenager.

    El que rie ultimo rie mejor!!!!

    Love you always, another proud Cuban mother

  • Carolina says:

    I can’t stop cracking up about the answering machine. I live so close to my mami, that if my sister and I (we live together) let the answering machine pick up one of her 5 evening calls, she’ll just hop in her car and stop by. Ay, I need to move a bit farther!

  • marielle says:

    Oh man that is hysterical. Yes, I talk to my mom on a daily basis. And yes, we have plenty to talk about me being a bossy oldest child and her being a total extrovert. I will say though that even my dad the “non talker” will worry if I don’t call my mom and check in with them.

    The miami memories are a bonus. I grew up in south miami and then kendall.

  • Tammy says:

    Oh geez, now I must confess!!! This is me with my 22 and 23 year old sons, what have I turned into?! When the youngest answers he now says “Yes MOTHER” and the oldest says “Hi mom, I love you!” just their little way of saying what now?!!!
    Thanks for the post, I’m going to reexamine how I stay in touch with them and give them a little breathing room!

  • Janet says:


    Dear Carrie:

    Thank you for sharing this clip with me, as it has really brought back fond memories of Mami. I remember when I moved out of my parents house in Miami and moved to Coconut Grove, my mother was worried to death. Everyday, every hour of the day, she would call me. She would come up with all sorts of excuses why she was worried sick about me. If it wasn’t something she saw in the news, the Spanish channels that were full of unfounded drama, she would have some kind of premonition. I always called her back, but looking back, I was so caught up in my own social life that I would return her call so she wouldn’t continue to call me every half hour.

    I wish she was still calling me. Mami passed away the day after this past Thanksgiving and I miss her terribly.

    Today, I am have become that mother, as I have a 13 yr old daugther that swears I am too overprotective. Just wait til she moves out!

    Thanks again!

  • Carrie says:

    Hey, everybody. Thank you for the comments and for sharing your own stories…We are lucky, even in the insanity of it all.

    And for sure, I know that one day it will be my daughter avoiding my calls. But, the poor thing, little does she know that by then there will be some sort of Video GPS that I can install in her to monitor without even talking!

    And of course, a gracias to my Mami, who laughed hard when she saw this. Thank goodness she has a sense of humor and puts up with me busting on her.

    And, remember, you guys can post your own video essays to our YouTube group. So vamos: http://www.youtube.com/group/tikitikiblog

  • Emily says:

    Dear Carrie,
    I am a thirteen year old girl, Cuban to be exact, and I get you. My mom does that ALL the time. Actually Janet is my mom. And yes I DO think she can be overprotective, paranoid, and dramatic sometimes but in the end I understand why she is and I know that sadly I will someday be calling my daughter and annoying her to death too. It’s a mother’s job and mother’s DO know best. So to all the cuban daughters out there…….MY advice, well just deal with it. You WILL learn to get used to the obsessive calling. Once again….its a MOM thing.

    Love To The Cubans!,
    Emily M. ☮ <3 :D

  • Gina says:

    Okay. That was scary. It sounded so much like my mom that I had to replay it to make sure I wasn’t hearing things. Here I am 48 years old and miles away and I still get the calls: “Ginita, esta es tu mami. LLamame cuando tenga un chance (pronounced chan se) que te tengo algo que contar.”

    Drives me crazy but I would die with it. Go figure.

  • Maria says:

    I loved your video! How I wish my mom was still around to call me on a daily basis! You’re soooo lucky (but you know it)!

  • olga says:

    How I miss my Latin mother! My only wish for my daughters is that I too turn into that Latin mom soon; i’ts a write of passage; it’s in our blood like DNA and even if I don’t call them 3 or 4 times in a day I still wonder if they’re lying in some ditch if I don’t hear from them. I miss Hallo, hallo, estas ahi? Llamame, ok? Bye.

  • viv says:

    My mom is the same way. If I don’t call she will leave tons of messages on my voicemail. I think this is a latino thing… now I wonder if my daughter will be annoyed with my messages when she gets older.

  • Sheila says:

    I’m a 32 year old African and my mom, who lives in Africa, expects me to call her everyday. If I go more than two without communicating, she sends messages to all of her friends in the US asking them to tell me to call her. SIGH….

    BTW..I heard about this site from the Fabulous Marta Darby and her daughter Kikita. You ladies are doing a great job.

  • Laura says:

    My mom’s not Latina and she does the same thing! She always manages to call when I can’t talk and when I do talk to her she either nags or asks me a hundred times if I’m okay. While I am 28, have been married for 5 years and have a 16 month old son, we still depend on her for a lot, so you know…

    “Llámame, que te tengo un chisme.” Alexis and I had tears of laughter!

  • Minnie says:

    I love this! Your post, video and photo are all great. I was laughing so hard after watching that video because I can totally relate. I am Mexican who grew up in Southern California and am now married to a non-Latino who definitely thinks it’s weird that I have to call my mom every day even though I am 39. She worries about EVERYTHING (like cars somehow flying off the freeway and crashing into my bedroom if I picked a house too close to the freeway) and I didn’t understand it at all until I became a mom myself. And now, I realize I’m turning into my mother! :-)

  • Yvette says:

    This is MY mother! However, I cannot go 36 hours without talking to her. She needs to hear from me at least 2 times a day. She would call me so often that I taught her to text. It’s quicker and easily to ignore.

    She texts me at 5:30am. I’ve already been up since 5:15am. If I don’t reply, she’ll text me again at 6am. If I ignore this one, she texts me again at 6:30am. Every week day without fail, she calls my office phone a ver si llegaste. Depending on the day, she might call me again around 2pm. Everyday she calls me between 6-7:30pm, a ver que hay de nuevo. I just talked to you this morning. Nothing new. Same old same.

    Then it’s the 5 minute good byes. Be safe hija, ok mom, love you, love you too mom, cuidate, ok mom, love you, love you too mom, llamame, bye mom, say hi to jeff, ok mom bye, behave, ok mom bye, i miss you, bye, bye…lol

    My husband, gringo al fin, doesn’t understand. I think this routine is great compared to what it was before (imaginate!). But he still makes fun of me. Whenever the phone rings, he’s like, “say hi to your mom”. He’s always right.

    The texts are the funniest. “flaca you home jeff home how dogs say hi jeff love mom”

    But it’s a small price to pay. :)

  • Catherine says:

    It really must be a mom thing. I can go for days not calling my dad, but let two days pass without speaking to my mother… When my sister first moved out back when she was in college, three and fourdays would go by and she wouldn’t call. By day six, my mother was already buying a plane ticket to go find her. Thank God she called. Ella tiro el grito en el aire! Since that day, my sister (and the rest of us) know to at least text daily. BTW,your mother’s, “Llamame que te tengo un chisme.” was absolutely hilarous! You need to record that and show it to Maria later on!

  • I have a Latin Mother as well and when we are on good terms, she is exactly like that. However, I have to admit, I am a Latin Older Sister. My 12 y.o. sister calls me every morning before she heads to school and every night to say good night. I call her in between to check in on her homework. At on point I GPS tracked my 19 y.o. sister who was living with me at the time. And if she didn’t come home on time from work, her phone was ringing. “Are you ok? did u get lost? are you going out with friends? You have to call and tell me! I can’t sleep!” Yes, I’m a Latin Big Sister – and proud of it. God help me if I ever have kids.

    I am also a Latin Wife — and Gold help my husband if he wakes up early and runs to the store for O.J. Saturday morning without telling me! He has now learned to leave a note.

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  • NYC Mama says:

    This made me smile, but it also made me just the teeniest bit sad. I had a Latin Abuela who left messages just like your mom’s. Worse, actually, I think. LOL. “Issa? Iiiiiiiissaaaaaa? Issa? Iiisssaaaaaa? Iiiiiiisssssaaaaaaa? Llamame.” And several variations of that theme, lol. I miss her very much. She was my everything.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Lou says:

    OMG, that is my mother. Well, it used to be. Until my parents moved to Panama last summer. Now she has learned all about Yahoo IM, which is what my coworkers and I use to communicate (we are home-based and all over the U.S.). So she will IM me continuously throughout the day. And if I don’t reply immediately, she freaks out (“estas ahi todavia? te paso algo? contestame!”) Relax, woman! I’m working! Oh, and if she doesn’t see the little yellow dot next to my name that says “available”, she will call my sister to ask why I am not working, is everything okay, am I sick. Umm, hello?? Maybe I took a personal day.

    My sister uses Skype to call my mother in Panama. However, because it is cheaper for my mom to call here than vice versa, when my sister calls her, she will say “Oye, llamame”, intending to hang up right away so my mother can call her back. My mother – ever the Negative Nelly (is that a Cuban thing or a mother thing??) – will always gasp and ask “que paso?!” To which my sister has to say “nada, mami. para hablar.” Every. single. time.

    While they were still living here in Miami, she would call me and my sister several times a day. I guess because she was bored. But if we were busy and were like “mom, I can’t talk now” she would get all insulted that we didn’t have time to talk to her right then and there. And if we let the call go to voicemail, and we didn’t return her message within five minutes, she’d be calling again in six! And – like Yvette’s mom above – there was the nightly “just making sure you are home safely” call.

    Love her, but oh boy!!

  • Gloria says:

    Hi Carrie, I hope you remember me. Your Tia Mirtha’s friend aqui en Miami. I remember when you were a little girl and I knew your abuela, abuela, and all your tios and tias. I love your videos and your comments. Yes, I understand las mamas Latinas. My mom has been gone for almost 8 yrs. now, but I do remember when she kept calling me, and asking “a que hora vas a regresar?” And when she lived with me for a while, she used to stay up and wait for me to get home, and I was already in my late 30′s and even perhaps 40. Pero ahora, I miss her a lot, I wish she were here still. Keep up the good work. Your tia told me you’re coming to Miami soon. A lo mejor nos vemos. Besos y abrazos.

  • AminaE says:

    Working at a Latino lifestyle magazine (cafemagazine.com), I’ve learned a lot about Latina mothers – and they sound awesome! If you’re interested in learning more about Latina mothers who work to balance their American and Latina cultures when raising their kids, you should check out a great article of ours. It’s called “All About My Acculturated Mamá” and it seems like a lot of you would be able to relate to it. Here’s the link: http://www.cafemagazine.com/index.php/component/content/article/56-0906-features/191-all-about-my-acculturated-mama.

    Hope you enjoy it!

    Your friend from Cafe,

  • Lisa Renata says:

    Hay, hay, hay Carrie. This is just to adorble. Mamis latinas, gotta love them. I LOVE mine!

  • haysel says:

    I LOVE it! This is just like mi mami and I’ll be playing this video for her tonight. I’m sure she’ll see herself in it. I also often wonder whether with age I’m slowly turning into her and whether my kids will some hear me saying “halloooooo”

  • Marilyn says:

    OMG, LMAO, mi prima te la comiste with this. I know first hand about having a tiki tiki mom and I must confess I too have become this tiki tiki mom. Don’t worry Maria it still too young but guarntee you that you too will be this fierce monster.

  • Jenny B says:

    HAHAHA!!!!! This was great. My mami sent this to me. I live in IL for my husband’s work and the Americanos we know go months without talking to their moms or their kids. I’m like, Uh, my parents would think I’m dead or get on a plane and kill me if I didn’t call them. LOL. My parents aren’t as tiki tiki as my abuela. It cracked me up when she left the message about un chizme. Aye! I miss Miami!!!

    • Carrie says:

      Hola, Jenny. Glad your mami sent you. It’s certainly different being away, isn’t it…almost makes the tiki tiki charming! I am headed to Miami this weekend, so there will lots more video inspiration.
      Thanks all for the continued comments — especially from my tiki tiki-ing cousins and tias — the source of my daily inspiration.

  • Ana Granda says:

    Holy crap!!!!yes I LOL but my mami is a saint….It’s not her that does the insane calling and calling and calling, cell, to house, to cell, to house…..it’s my FATHER…..is he sure there’s not a raging Cuban mother inside that head of his……Like my abuela EVE and some of you knew her well…..he is the pituita, the pendesiera, the chismosa, and the obsesive caller……Hay Dios Mio!!!!

  • [...] I stumbled upon a blog post from Tiki-Tiki Blog which highlights this Hispanic reality. Here is a video and a link to her [...]

  • Unknown Mami says:

    Yes, I have a Latin mother and yes I am one.

  • Eva Smith says:

    I love this post! Llamame que te tengo un chisme. Me gusta mucho!

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