Mother’s Day Twice a Year

Tuesday morning five a.m. and an explosion rips me from my sleep.  Who’s birthday is it? (It is common for birthdays to be celebrated here with a barrage of fireworks at the crack of dawn.) I think as I roll over and try to drift back to sleep.  It wasn’t someone’s birthday, it was Mother’s Day.  But wasn’t Mother’s Day on Sunday?

Here in Guatemala, Dia De Las Madres is always celebrated on the 10th of May, and what better way to celebrate your mom than to set off a battery of fire works.  At least I wasn’t woken by a live marimba band at 5 in the morning like I was two years ago on Mother’s Day; horrible.  All morning, as I taught PE outside on the basketball court, the sound of mothers being celebrated drowned out the screams of excitement from my elementary students.

If you are ever in need of fireworks, you don’t need to drive to the county line because Guatemala has an abundant supply of what you want; even after the firework factory exploded during lunch last week, I had been sitting in the library when I heard a distant rumble.  At first I thought it was thunder, but it was a blue sky day.  Maybe Xela was under attack!  Nope!  The fireworks factory had caught fire due to the heat and exploded.  Sadly, the explosion didn’t limit the amount of fireworks sold to the many sons and daughters in Xela.  My Tuesday morning was one explosion after another.  And fortunately, unlike on Sunday, none of those explosions happened inside of my body.

Guatemalans really know how to celebrate their moms.  But just because in the states people don’t set off fireworks doesn’t mean us, US Americans, don’t love our moms.  On Sunday, I spent most of my day Skyping with my family.  Holidays are hard days for me to be away from my family, I can’t physically walk up to my mom and give her a hug.  As I sat Skyping with  my mom, it almost felt like I was home.  But almost only works in horse shoes and fireworks.  Like I almost regained my hearing after the umpteenth million firework exploded on the Guatemalan’s May 10th Mother’s Day.

I’m glad that my family celebrates Mother’s Day in a more laid back fashion.  As nice as it was to Skype my mom I would rather have been able to be in Colorado and light off a few fireworks to celebrate her in Guatemalan fashion; at least I would have been there.

I love Guatemala, all of it’s quirks and explosions.  It is a unique little country and has really become a beloved second home, but it’s hard to be here during major holidays.  On Mother’s Day I felt the pull to be home so I could spend some quality time with my family for the first time in nearly ten months.  But on the flip side, with a little more than month left here in Guatemala I don’t want to leave.  I want to stay and soak up all of the little bits of Guatemala that I can.  It is hard living with these two desires.  I know I’m moving, but I’ve also decided to live in the present as much as possible, so I am trying my hardest not to think about my move.  I love how Guatemala celebrates their moms and yet I know moving back home will be a great thing; I’ll be able to celebrate my mom in person.  What’s better than that?

3 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Twice a Year

  • I think fireworks are an appropriate way to celebrate motherhood. However you could wait until evening. I would rather see them as I was getting ready for bed rather than to be awoken by blasting noises! It was fun to skype with you. Looking forward to seeing you home soon!


  • I think your mom (above) is kidding herself. Remember all those lame July 4 celebrations where we didn’t even light sparklers? She would hate you blowing off fireworks, even for Mother’s Day, because she would imagine and worry about you blowing off various body parts. It’s only Mother’s Day until someone loses and eye!

    Plus she would never pay for them. Remember how she says, “It’s a waste of money. Why don’t we just light dollar bills and toss them in the street.”

    • Dad, you are correct. Remember when we were given all those blackcat fireworks and we ended up lighting them off before we move away from Vail because we’d had them for nearly 10 years. She never likes it when we set off fireworks.

      Mom, the Guatemalans say that you have to do it early in the morning because it shows how special that person is. You woke up all early and then blew up some stuff. How much more special can someone feel?

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