This is another special post, in honor of another wonderful woman in my life. Because of Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in the United States in May, I am selecting my auntie Carmen Nydia Alvarado, who is no longer with us. I have many amazing women in my life, women who have given us great examples of strength and courage, while dealing with everyday issues by themselves. Women who have taught us that we can do anything. My auntie Nydia was one of them.
I was the first granddaughter in the Alvarado family, so I was named after her. My name is Nydia Raquel, which honors my auntie Nydia and my Mom Raquel. I was also honored to be her goddaughter. Unfortunately, I never got to ask why was she named Nydia. There’s no other Nydia in the family (yet).
My auntie Nydia is no longer with us. She was the only daughter in the Alvarado family, she was my Dad’s only sister. My grandmother had two boys (one of them my Dad) and a girl. When she was about two years old, her father, my grandfather, moved to New York. He then married two other ladies. He had 4 more boys. They all grew up in New York. She had the opportunity to visit them, and created a special bond with all her brothers.
Growing up she shared the household with her mom, her brothers, her grandma, and her uncle. My Dad and uncle were always checking on her, even as adults. They created such a bond, that they’d still visit to check on her. It was a wonderful example for us, to see how my Dad still cared for his sister. And that’s how we became so close to her and her children.
She had great friends in the neighborhood, and everyone has wonderful stories of how friendly and easy to get along she was. She fell in love with a guy who was not from the neighborhood, but came around to visit his relatives. It happened to be an Alvarado guy, but not related to her. Believe me, they double-checked. He kept coming back to visit. They started writing letters to each other. Yes, she kept those letters. Yes, they got married.
One of her husband’s cousins told them that names that started with the letter A were for angels. So she decided to name all of her children with A names: Auranyd, Alex, Adán, Adriana and Amnerys. Her children decided to continue the tradition and had named all her grandchildren with A names: Andrea Leilani, Alejandro, Alan Ray, Ariana Liliani, Andres Gustavo, Abdiel, Anahara del Carmen, Juan Carlos Aurelio, Angel, Axel, Abigail, Alix Amelia, and Alexei Amalio. She was the dedicated mother of five, and grandmother to thirteen.
She was loving, caring, and sweet. She was strict not only with her children, but with all of the nephews and nieces. But so was my mom, and my grandmothers. She always had words of encouragement, and always wanted to know how we were doing. She was a great storyteller, as is my Dad, as was my grandfather (I guess that’s an Alvarado trait).
She made amazing coffee. One memory I always keep in my heart, and all of us do, was of our car pulling in to visit, and she’d start heating water. By the time we entered the house, it always smelled of fresh-brewed coffee. Always. I know her kids follow that tradition. That’s how we as adults now enjoy our cup of coffee when we get together. Because it’s always a good memory for us.
She had five kids, that are now five adults with their own kids. I want to tell you about them, because I’m very proud and supportive of my dear cousins. I had asked each of them to share a memory of their Mamá Nydia, and I asked them what would they say or share with her if they could.
I started with Amnerys, the fifth and youngest daughter, who I recently wrote a post about. She lives in Puerto Rico. She was 15 when her mom passed. She decided to join the Army and became the only female soldier in our family. She then completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and has continued to pursue a degree in Law, which she’d be finishing in 2020. She has one daughter, Anahara, who I know Amnerys wishes her mom had known, because she’s a cute and intelligent girl.
Amnerys’ full name is Amnerys del Carmen, as her mom dedicated her pregnancy to “la Virgen del Carmen”, praying for a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Amnerys named her daughter Anahara del Carmen, in honor of her mom Carmen Nydia. One memory Amnerys wanted to share was that she always remembers how her mom was devoted to them. She was always serving them, or checking on all of them, from the time she got up to the moment she went to bed. What Amnerys loved the most was the sound of her mom’s laugh.
Adriana is the fourth child, second daughter, and she also lives in Puerto Rico. Like her Mamá Nydia, she is a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s the one that looks like her mom the most. Of course, she also wished her mom had known her three boys and had the chance to see them grow into the amazing young men that they are. They would’ve loved their grandma, and I’m sure she would’ve loved them dearly. She got a chance to enjoy her first grandson, Alejandro. But didn’t get to know Alan and Andrés.
Adriana misses being able to tell her mom about her kids. She also misses her dedication to all of them, including her cooking. Her arroz con pollo (chicken and rice caserole) was Adriana’s favorite meal (mine too). And of course, she misses her coffee and those moments they shared together.
Adán is the third child, second son. He lives in Georgia. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, after his mom passed. He is the father of 4, three boys and one girl. Of those four, he is the proud father of triplets, first set in the family! Unfortunately, Mamá Nydia didn’t get to know them. She would’ve been so thrilled, as we all are. Abdiel is the oldest, then Angel, Abigail and Axel, the triplets.
One memory Adán wanted to share with me is the following: “I remembered one day that Alex and I went with our father to saw wood in the Limón neighborhood in Villalba. It started raining hard, and we were there for so long that we had to get out all wet. When we arrived home, Mamá received us with coffee with milk, but she also made pancakes for us. I ate so many, I got a stomach ache. Of course, she took care of me.”
Alex is the second child, first son. His mom got to see him become an Electrical Engineer. He also completed a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering after she passed. She enjoyed him becoming the father of two lovely girls Andrea Leilani and Ariana Liliani. But she missed getting to know his third girl, Alix Amelia, who looks very much like her grandma Nydia, and his one boy, the youngest grandchild Alexei Amalio.
Another thing his Mamá Nydia didn’t get to enjoy is this amazing guy become a National powerlifting champion, holding several personal records representing Puerto Rico. He is a coach to others interested in powerlifting, and he also became an official Referee for the International Powerlifting Federation.
One memory Alex wanted to share with me is the following: “My dear cousin Nydia asked me to write about Mamá, and she warned me she was going to cry either way. This is why I decided to share a funny anecdote instead of one that would make us sad. Mamá was very wise and she was a saint, considering how good she always treated us and everyone else. She always had great answers to my questions. I remember a curious thing: she used to have nicknames for everyone. She used to call me Alejo, and growing up I didn’t like it much. I try to avoid doing that to my children, not because having nicknames is bad, but because of the shameful moments that often causes. When I was four, we were always looking for the correspondence. She used to call the postman “cartucho”. She’d say “let’s see what the cartucho brought”, “has the cartucho come by?”. So one time we were in town, and I saw the mail carrier walking by. Without thinking if it was good or bad idea, I announced out loud “look, Mamá, there’s the cartucho!” she wanted to shush me and kept telling me to be quiet, but I kept telling her out loud “but Mamá look, it’s the cartucho!”
Lastly, is my cousin Auranyd, who is the first kid, first daughter. Her name is a combination of her father’s and her mother’s names: Au-chemical symbol for gold, Ra-for Ramón, and Nyd-for Nydia. “The gold of Ramón and Nydia”. She is the mother of one boy, who she chose to name Juan Carlos Aurelio, in honor of her father, her son’s father, and also the tradition of having the A name added.
She lives in Louisiana with her son. She’s a blogger “Una Boricua en Louisiana” (follow @UBELouisiana on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems after her mom passed. She also completed her Master’s Degree in Human Resources. She, like her sisters, missed having her mom during her pregnancy and birth of her son. She realized how much her mom struggled to keep the household and her children feeling loved and in good care.
A memory she wanted to share is the following: “I loved asking Mamá about how she met Papá. She told me there was a party next door. So this guy, my Dad, saw her and came to her house to ask where was the party. She pointed out to the other house. Our grandma noticed this, and told her “go get ready, if you want to go the the party”. All night, she enjoyed dancing with her friends. He was one of the musicians. The moment he saw her alone, he came by again to ask if she lived nearby. She thought “he saw me earlier by my house” . She answered yes, and kept dancing.
Since my auntie passed, I felt the struggle on trying to keep her name and legacy alive. But I realized that this is not up to only me. I’m proud to carry her name. But we only need to take a look at what her kids and grandkids are doing to realize that she’s still with us. She’d be so proud of all of us. She had so much love to give. Auntie Nydia has left such a beautiful legacy, being a wonderful mother, that it’s difficult to measure the love we give our children without thinking of how loving she always was.
I miss her so much. I know her children miss her much more. We all miss her loving and caring ways. We miss her delicious food and coffee. This time, mi tacita de café is in honor of my wonderful auntie Nydia. Happy Mother’s Day! Salud!
Para versión en español https://fullofcoffee.blog/2019/05/12/una-mujer-maravillosa,-una-madre-maravillosa/