Wonder everywhere



Running our numbers


One of my MatadorU students, Christina Kirsch, recently mentioned casually that she is a numerologist. I said, kind of joking but mostly not, that I’d love for her to read my numbers, as well as Francisco’s and Mariel’s.

Christina didn’t know much about us and only worked with our names and dates of birth. The results are below, which I found incredibly interesting and really spot-on.

If you’re interested in having Christina “do” your numbers, you can email her at numbersandnames@gmail.com. WIth your request, send the full name and date of birth of each person you want read. She charges $15 per name and nothing extra to compare names. She’s been doing readings for 13 years, so this isn’t something she dabbles around in.

[Email from Christina]

Here are your numbers 🙂 I hope you have fun with them.

Some hints on interpreting: Life Lesson is like a theme in your life; Path of Destiny is less your future and more what reoccurs; Power is something you develop as you get older. Let me know if you have any questions.

I feel this is important. I don’t see numerology as being true or not. That’s not important to me. I’d rather you decide what works for you. “Take what you like and leave the rest.”

Life Lesson – 6 family
Outer Personality – 44/8 stability and power (master#)
Inner Personality – 1 independence
Path of Destiny – 9 selfless compassion
Power – 6 family
Drive – 3 balance between yourself and everything else (or the universe)
Missing – 7 solitude
Whether you ask for it or not, you are considered a leader. People are drawn to you. Sometimes this can feel like you need more space, although, you thrive in group settings. You are a generous mother and wife. Even in work like settings you tend to give your best. Being attractive and generous, you may find yourself escaping to a place, whether physical or mental, to rediscover who you are, without the input of anyone or anything else. You like to feel the connection of the people close to you, but also like to feel the separateness of your uniqueness. Although you don’t not consider yourself spiritual or religious, you probably would enjoy the benefits of something like yoga but most likely will choose the mental training in something like running.

Life Lesson – 11/2 independence and balance within yourself (master#)
Outer Personality – 1 independence
Inner Personality – 3 balance between yourself and the universe (or everything else)
Path of Destiny – 4 stability
Power – 6 family
Drive – 1 independence
Missing – nothing
Francisco is what I like to call super charged. His life is filled with learning. While this may seem overwhelming, he absolutely has the energy to thrive. He actually is intended to evolve more in this lifetime than most of us and is more ready for it. He is a foundation person. Someone reliable emotionally. I would guess he would be a good shoulder to cry on. I also do not see him to get jealous. He probably sees the collection of joys in the world as good for everyone. While what gives him strength are the people who are close to him, he probably has trouble keeping his sense of independence. For him maybe the idea of connection and separation go with independence? That would be confusing. And I would see that confusion distracting him from his heart.

Life Lesson – 7 solitude
Outer Personality – 5 freedom
Inner Personality – 1 independence
Path of Destiny – 6 family
Power – 3 balance between yourself and the universe
Drive – 1 independence
Missing – nothing
Mariel is a soul searcher. I expect her to continue the search for ‘the meaning of life’ throughout her life. She is a free spirit. And that free spirit is going to touch many lives. She’s like magic. I see her as always staying true to herself and being in wonderful relationships. That’s not to say that her life will be perfect. Its more like she will live her life and not fight or struggle with it. Again what is important to her is authenticity. (It will be very easy to teach her what integrity means.) Wow, and as she gets older she will really be a center in the energy in the universe. (btw, I love her name and my niece is Paloma)

There is a lot of interweaving of numbers in your family:
-Mariel’s life lesson is what you are missing. You’ll probably be facing spirituality with her one day, whether you like it or not.
-Francisco’s outer personality is exactly the same as Mariel’s inner personality. So while she’ll be drawn to or reject the similarity, there may be a time when she sees that as something exactly opposite her. She values her inner personality so much. Maybe they will need to spend time accepting their differences.
-You all have 6 family, 3 balance between yourself and the universe and 1 independence as important parts of you. I feel like you all will sometimes be dealing with wanting the connection and support of each other and still have the independence to be authentic and unique and how to be both. What is great about sharing these numbers is you will easily feel empathy when each other is struggling with this balance of connection and uniqueness.
-You have the only 9 selfless compassion in the family. So…you may need to regroup every so often to not get overwhelmed. I like reading about animal totems and I want to share about the Mountain Lion with you. Mountain Lion is the leader.
“Mountain Lion…
Oh kingly leader,
Of sleek, feline form.
Touch my heart with courage,
Then sound the alarm.
That I may lead with foresight,
Assurance bright and true,
To cary on the spirit,
Of the strength I see in you.”
Jamie Sams and David Carson

From my view here, your family looks amazing.



Mixed race couples belong to a club for which there is no application or official process of belonging. Like expats, who often nod or smile at each other in knowing recognition when they see another one of “their kind” on the subway, mixed race couples have non-verbal communicative exchanges when they see each other on the street; a gaze that says something like “Yeah, we know what it’s like to go to a Waffle House in north Georgia at 2 AM and hear something stupid like, Y’all know you gotta pay, right?'”

That kind of thing.

When mixed race couples have kids, their membership goes platinum. Or something. Suddenly, there are all sorts of things you have to deal with that your respective racial identities don’t quite prepare you for. Things like: What is your child’s “official” race? and How do you deal with their hair?

It’s the latter issue that has prompted me, in a way that is admittedly socially inappropriate at times, to have what I like to call “connective outbursts” on the street recently. When I see mixed race couples with kids, I’ve wanted to take our non-verbal exchange and make it verbal, and I’ve pounced upon parents, sometimes quite literally, to ask them how, exactly, they manage their kids’ hair. Because membership in this club is transacted through non-verbal exchanges, the majority of folks are taken aback and they hurry away before giving me any good intel.

We went for a walk a few nights ago and happened to see two young women–twin sisters, maybe?– who were clearly biracial and who had hair like Mariel’s, which is to say, soft and curly on the top, sides, and back, and wiry in the middle. Francisco nudged me, “Go ask them, go ask them!” I hesitated for a moment; they were eating arepas at a cafe and I didn’t want to intrude, but their hair was beautiful and “managed” and what if this was my only chance for some decent intel?

I made my approach. We exchanged “the look.” And then we all started laughing. Five minutes later, I walked away with a book recommendation (“Curly Girl, it changed our lives,” one sister said) and product suggestions (“Stop shampooing. Period. Use Mixed Chicks instead.”).

We’ll keep you posted about how it all turns out.

Coming home


“You missed a lot,” Leslie says when I open the door to the apartment and set my bags on the floor so I can scoop Mariel into my arms. I don’t respond to the comment, but it smarts, even if she didn’t intend for it to. She’s only 12 and she’s literal- her statement is one of fact, not one intended to provoke a certain emotion.

We have Skyped at least once a day, waving and blowing kisses to each other across two countries, two cities, two computer screens. But between those sessions, life keeps happening. Synapses keep firing. The world keeps getting explored by hands that are no longer those of a baby, but those of a little girl who is growing quickly.

I give Leslie a present- a bright pink t-shirt I bought for her at the airport gift shop. I tell her to call her mom over, as I have a present for her, too; I missed her birthday, which was the same day I flew out. I have become one of *those* people, the one who can’t find the time to get to the market to buy an “authentic” gift and who, as a consequence, is relegated to spend more money at the last minute on a present at the airport.

There isn’t time for regret or any other bittersweet emotion; the choices we are making in our lives right now were choices we agreed upon together, and we have done all we possibly can to minimize the effects of our sacrifices. Be here now.

Leslie and her mom go home and I lie on the floor with Mariel while Francisco talks with his son, who is in Australia. More distance. More opportunities for regret, if we were willing to let it seep in. Mariel picks up Goodnight Moon and says “Night night, night night,” and I begin to read to her. She holds the book on one side and helps me turn the pages. “Good night mush, good night bears, good night chairs.” The book is odd- more than 60 years old, I think, but I wonder whether it was ever really entirely comprehensible- the blank page, for instance, accompanied by the text, “Good night nobody,” and the garish colors.

It is the first time we have ever read a book cover to cover; before tonight, she has always been impatient, grabbing the book from my hands to flip through the pages at her own leisure. Tonight, she reads along with me and points to objects- the lamp is “light.” The rabbit is “rabbeet.” The bowl of mush is “cookie”–close. Just enough, like everything else.

The man beside me


The man beside me glances at my iPhone and sees the Francisco-Mariel wallpaper.

“I didn’t know you had a kid,” he says, the tone of his voice tinted with condescending amusement. “How do you do this then? Your husband lets you go away? Who takes care of the kid?”

He says “the kid” like he’s talking about a mostly self-sufficient gerbil who needs a daily feeding of celery sticks, whose cage needs to be relined with paper every few days.

I had already decided I detested him- the easy way in which he took advantage of situations and other people with no concern or shame.

We are from a different generation, so it might be hard for him to imagine that my husband is the one who handles the domestic sphere. I can’t remember the last time I did laundry. I cook a meal about once a month. I sweep the apartment daily, but Francisco does most of the heavy cleaning. He’s a full partner in parenting and will be the primary parent in April, as I’ll be traveling most of the month for work.

As I boarded planes and pulled out my laptop during layovers and talked business with a seatmate on the next flight and came home at 11:30 PM to find Mariel asleep… as I unpacked my bag and put my clothes in the laundry hamper and watched Francisco pack them back up and haul them off to the laundry so I could repack them and get ready for my flight tomorrow, I wondered whether the men around me who were doing the same felt anything similar to what I was feeling.

Snot-nosed kids


Before having a child of my own, I would have looked at the parent of the snot-nosed kid on the subway and thought, “You pathetic excuse for a parent; you can’t even wipe your kid’s nose.”

Now I know that there are kids whose noses will not be wiped no matter the intervention.

Consider, if you will, how this has changed me.

Maternal instinct nightmare


I am in my childhood home.

It is night.

The deck door, which accesses the living room, is open and the screen door is, stupidly, unlocked. When I see the man there, I know he is dangerous. I know he means harm. And I know that I can’t prevent him from coming in.

I don’t know who else is home other than Mariel, who is in my bedroom, asleep. I do not want the man to know this. He attacks me immediately and I fight back, which is futile. I manage, though, to pull him out to the carport, where he slings me over his shoulder. In the now-familiar trope of nightmares I’ve had since childhood, I open my mouth to scream “Help!” (though my current “helps” are in both English and Spanish), producing no sound. It has always been this way, wasting my energy on calling for help, never able to fully articulate the cry. Every 10 efforts produce a weak noise, which makes the attacker stronger; he knows he is in a powerful position. He also knows we’re geographically isolated; no one would help me even if I could make a sound.

I manage to pull free of him and make a run for the neighbor’s house, in indescribable agony over the decision to leave Mariel behind. Leaving her while I go for help is my only chance, I think, but what if he goes back inside? What if he finds her?

Next, I am in a Puerto Rican police cruiser with three officers: two men, one woman. We are driving past my parents’ house and I tell them “My daughter is there; please stop so we can get her!”, but they keep driving. They say we have to do the paperwork, that they can’t take any action unless everything that has happened has been documented.

What bothers me is that I wake up then, not knowing whether my choice to leave her was right.