Winter 2011 – Gabriela Valdez (26), Joaquin Valdez (30), Nadia and Maribel Valdez (3), Arthur Heredon( 28), Marie Heredon (27), James Bartel (31), Abigail Brusch (34), and Kevin Barret (36). Last update: Spring 2011

Soundtrack: Meaning by Gavin DeGraw

ImageGabriela worries and sometimes she cries. She’s not sad but she is tired, so tired that some evenings she can barely keep her eyes open to listen to the new things her babies have to tell her or enjoy the way Joaquin runs his nimble fingers along her arms in open invitation. There’s always something to do: a student who needs a bit of extra help, a class to study for, a paper to write — it was all a bit overwhelming at times.

She shakes her head. Nadie sabe lo que vale el agua hasta que falta. She still feels strong, she still feels capable but she fears that now she’s missing too much. It was different before. Gabriela would get home at 3, dismiss the nanny and spend the rest of the day enjoying her family. She still gets home at three but the nanny stays until Joaquin is finished with his research and she spends between three and four hours remote accessing her education classes and working on assignments.

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Fall 2011: Gabriela Valdez is 26, Nicolas Heredon is 7, Frederic and A.J Heredon are 5 and Taj Behar is 4.

A.J. likes it when they walk to school even though the wind is blowing so hard his ears and nose turns red. His mom always says to wear a hat if he insists on not wearing a jacket but it’s fun the way his hair flies around in the wind. He runs ahead, sliding his hand into his father’s and they smile at each other. He’s not a baby. He can walk down the street by himself, even cross it if his mom is watching, but he doesn’t mind when his dad wants to hold his hand.

They have the best time when Mom has to stay home from work with Sarah and it’s just the two of them. They get to talk about man stuff like going fishing and looking for frogs, plus his dad smiles more. For a long time, A.J. thought his dad would never smile again and his stomach would always hurt when only three of them sat down for dinner.

He’s seen movies. He knows divorce is when daddies go far away and come back only a few times. There’s even a boy in his class who doesn’t have a mommy anymore because of divorce. Maybe tomorrow he’ll talk to Dad about what he’ll miss if he goes away and how much Sarah would cry.

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Summer 2011: Arthur and Marie Heredon are 27, John Heredon is 31, Rachel Heredon is 30, Joaquin Valdez is 29, Gabriela Valdez is 26, Nicolas Heredon is 7, A.J and Frederic Heredon are 5, and Nadia and Maribel Valdez and Sarah Heredon are 3.

Soundtrack: “I’ll Be Waiting” by Adele

Warning: A bit of simulated nudity and 2,500 words.

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Summer 2011: Marie Heredon are 27, Gabriella Valdez is 26, A.J Heredon is 4 and Sarah Heredon is 3. Last update: Fall 2010

Soundtrack: “Are We Really Through” by Ray LaMontagne

They used to do this together. She would wait patiently at the nursery door, watching Sarah dream her sweet little girl dreams and listening for the familiar creak of the old spiral staircase that signaled his arrival home. There was harmony to their movements. He would stand behind her, one arm around her waist and the other raised high to rest on the door frame. She would lean against him and breathe deeply, inhaling the unique mix of ocean salt and rich soil that so often clung to his clothes and skin. She would bring his hand up to place a kiss on his palm, fascinated by the layer of dirt that would cover him from elbow to wrist yet his hands were always meticulously clean.
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Spring 2011 Joaquin is 29 and Gabriela is 26. Last update: Summer 2010

Soundtrack: Lauryn Hill – Tell Him

**warning: some sexy language and simulated nudity**

Gabriela erupts with laughter, the sound full and loud as Joaquin glides nimble fingers across her ribs. She throws her head back exposing her throat to his playful kisses and in that moment Gabriela is deliriously happy. This time last year she had wanted nothing more than to be back in their old home enjoying the Argentinian sun and beach but now she can accept that the move was benefiting the entire family.
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Summer 2010: Joaquin is 28, Gabriela is 25, Maribel and Nadia are 2

Moments

Despite the usual calm that overcomes her while cooking, Gabriela can’t stop the jolt that makes her flinch when she glances out the window. It still startles her to see lush green grass and farmland from the kitchen window, the absence of ocean swells and lazy beach goers tugging at her mostly buried desire to be in Argentina again. Gabriela would even take her native country of Panama at the moment, anything to once again experience the familiar but she knows that she’s where her heart is.

She stops chopping briefly, allowing her mind to conjure up images of Bahia Blanca in summer. She can see the brightness of the warm sand and feel the heat of the sun on her shoulders and sighs in pleasure, the knife falling slack in her hands. Gabriela doesn’t complain when the image shifts and blends into heavily sun-kissed skin over high cheekbones and golden brown eyes that smile more than his lips

They had moved for him and she couldn’t regret that.

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