She Gives Out of Love

I never considered Sandra Garcia to be my aunt.  As far back as I can remember, I considered her my second mother, sometimes even calling her “Mom.”  Tia Sandra was the support system that I relied on from the earliest age. When I was in first grade, she left work early to pick me up with my dog, knowing it would make me smile. A generation older than my real mother, Tia Sandra helped teach my mother to be an excellent parent: showing her how to feed me, bath me, cloth me, and care for me. 

Faith is important to my Tia Sandra and as I was growing up, she would put a religious show on TV and have me pray the rosary with her. To this day, she pushes me to go to church and pray. And Tia Sandra has been my closest confidant, the person I tell my hopes, desires, and secrets to.  We sometimes lay on my bed and talk in Spanish about the future and my problems; we laugh for hours as Tia Sandra gives me advice and tells me not to worry, that I will be ok. “Todo pasa por una razon, y cada dia sale una nueva sol.” Everything happens for a reason and every day a new sun comes out, she always says, as she pushes me to reach my best self.  

For my Tia Sandra, the years she has put into helping to raise me have never been a burden.  She expects nothing in return. The only thing my Sandrita asks of me is to create something beautiful with what I have. To use the tools and lessons she has given me to create a better life for myself. She puts her heart and soul into everything.  Whatever my Tia Sandra gives, she gives out of love.

Self Portrait. April 6, 2020.

 My aunt poses for a portrait on June 9, 2020.

A corner of my aunt’s house dedicated to photos and items of loved ones. 

Facebook is one of her favorite apps to look up recipes for dinner.

Due to COVID-19, we set a time to watch mass as a family every Sunday.

My aunt and I have a set routine when we bathe my dog, Tyson. I wash him and afterward, she tries to dry him with her blowdryer.

“Lo más importante que deberías hacer cuando te despiertas es ponerte crema facial.” 

("The most important thing you should do when you first wake up in the morning is put on facial cream.”)

My great grandmother’s hallway. June 9 2020.

My aunt dedicates herself cooking for our family every weekday. 

My aunt’s hallway. June 9, 2020.

My Tia Sandra lies on my bed as we talk about my hopes and dreams.

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