Maya leaves for Las Vegas today. That's where her blood dad lives. Blood dad? Birth dad? I still don't know what to label him because he is not more or less of a dad to Maya than Husband. I don't want labels to diminish either of their roles or all that they do for her.
Maya flies to see Blood Dad once a month and we trade off having Maya every other Christmas and Thanksgiving. She stays 6 long-ass weeks in the summer that nearly break me. But Blood Dad is sweet and thoughtful. He's very involved in Maya's life and he loves her very much. He was happy for me when I married and happy when I had Mina. He and his sweet wife just had a baby girl, and I was sincerely stoked for them too. Husband and BD are friendly without weirdness. I suspect they are a little jealous of each other – not of me, god no, but BD is jealous that Husband gets to spend the majority of time with Maya. Husband has known Maya since she was a year and a half years old and he’s a little jealous that her blood is not 100% his.
I am very close to BD's mother still, whom I call Mom. She loves Husband. Mina calls her Grandma, and Grandma has spent the night at our house on many occasions. Mina has spent a lot of time with Maya's Blood Family too in San Diego, where they and Grandma live, and they are all in love with her. Just like Maya is really close to Husband’s family in New York. And now all of Blood Dad's wife's family, step and blood, have embraced both Maya & Mina in one big It's-Takes-A-Village hug. It is The Ideal Situation, and it warms my heart.
But every time Maya steps on that plane, especially to celebrate a holiday elsewhere, all the droves of wonderful extended family fall away, and I ache because my baby is leaving me. Even though we have a wonderful village, I've always considered Maya only mine. I felt she was born only for me. Every single family member that loves her certainly feels differently, I'm sure, but I don't care. That girl is my heart.
And I don't want her to go to Vegas for Christmas. Husband doesn't either. Mina cries when she leaves. Of course we all know it's just part of our ideal arrangement.
We opened all our Mami & Papi gifts yesterday. We had our little Rivera Christmas before Maya had to leave. It was fun and sweet. We made vegan chocolate chip cookies and watched The Last Dragon which is almost as rad now as it was in 1985. Husband told the girls about his huge crush on Vanity. And I told them how hot I thought Bruce Leroy was. The presents were a big hit. Mina's favorite was the bright red sparkly gymnastic leotard! She squealed when she saw it. I asked Maya what her favorite present was and she said, "All of them! I always love your presents, Mami." Ug. Don't leave me, Maya!
I always tell her that before she gets on the plane, especially when she leaves for her long summer stay. I whisper, "Maya, I'll tell Daddy that I don't know where you are. I'll just tell him, 'Hmm, Maya? Maya who?' And then you can just stay with Mami." And she always says, "I don't want to leave you either, Mami, but I'm looking forward to seeing everybody." She's so reasonable. "I know, baby," I say, "And you'll have a great time. Hug and kiss everyone for me, and I'll see you in a bit." And I keep my chin up until the heavy doors close and my baby is gone in the air to her other life.