|My Mama Lola opening the Christmas tablecloth I made for her when I was 6 years old (with help from my mom of course!) Making her smile was one of my favorite things.|
|The Met-I was always RACING up those steps to get to work on time! (photo via Wikipedia)|
Somehow hearing it from someone outside my family helped all the pieces to fall into place. I applied to a heap of graduate programs, telling everyone I was “just doing it on a lark.” In my heart I secretly wished to get into the exclusive and famously tough program at the Pratt Institute. One by one, the rejection letters came in. I began to tell myself that I’d been a fool to believe that I had any talent, that my dad was the designer, not me and I just had to accept that it was never meant to be. My hands trembled as I opened the letter from Pratt, the last to arrive, and I could scarcely believe it when I read that I’d been accepted! I knew immediately that my life would change forever.
|Pratt Institute-you have no idea how much I miss Brooklyn! (photo via Wikipedia)|
The very next day, back in New York, I threw myself into my schoolwork with more enthusiasm than I’d ever felt before. My phone seemed to be ringing off the hook that day, but I was not going to be interrupted! When I got home that evening I finally checked my phone and saw it was my mom who’d been calling. I figured she just wanted to know how my first day back had been. I was wrong. She was calling to tell me that my dad had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer.
I was too paralyzed with panic to know what to do. My wonderful husband, who knows me better than I know myself, said, “We have to go back. Now.” We packed our bags and took the first available flight back to San Diego. We were told that Dad could go at anytime and that he should never, in fact, have lived long enough to be diagnosed. Then, a few days after we arrived, I became pregnant. Even though it was 9 years ago, I still refer to it as “the week my life was hit by a truck.” After that my husband and I spent our time helping my parents, fighting to save my father’s design firm, selling our home back east and nurturing our daughter.
|Dad with my daughter on the steps of the tiny house where he was born, in the Colonia of Oxnard, Ca. The calla lilies were planted by my Mama Lola over 60 years ago.|
It’s been a painful journey but now, years later and after the birth of our 2nd child, my husband and I honor my dad’s memory by living his philosophy, “Celebrate life. Celebrate all the good things and keep celebrating them, no matter how small.” I know now that celebration is the only way through grief and loss, two things that every human must experience. I also know that it's important to surround yourself with beauty, with things that are meaningful to you and with people who love you for who you are. I feel so blessed to have been able to make my living bringing beauty into people's homes, businesses and lives.
|Me with the editorial staff of San Diego Home and Garden, shooting a spread on a home in La Jolla.|
Wishing you love with extra cheese,
Margo (aka Nacho Mama)