You're Just Like a Dominican Mom!

My husband Dane has shaved his head for over a decade.  Out of the blue one evening he decided it was time to let it grow back out and see what it looked like.  A full head of thick hair, that guy still has! 

Dane has since gotten his hair cut at our local Hairymolairys salon by a real professional!  This is big time.  One of Bethany College’s student-athletes cuts hair as well so a few times he has had an at-home cut by Bernardo Bonafacio. 

hair cut

(Notice the professionalism!  The tools all laid out... the cape and apron even!)

I have appreciated Bernardo from afar for a few years because he has a brilliant spirit.  At lunch with his friends, he is always leading jubilant conversations as he smiles and laughs.  

Most days I’ve not known what their table was talking about because they speak Spanish when everyone at the table is able to do so.  Bernardo is from the Dominican Republic and his lunching friends have often been from Spanish speaking countries.  It hasn’t ever mattered that I couldn’t understand what they were talking about – Bernardo’s fullness of life has captivated me. 

Bernardo came over to cut Dane’s hair last night and I was home as well.  I had ample time to get to know him better because of the elaborate process of cutting Dane’s hair.  (“It’s a work of art!”)  While Bernardo was busy sculpting my handsome husband’s locks, I was cleaning off our kitchen counter.  I’m turning over a new leaf about our collections in the kitchen, but there was piled mail, graded school work, lego creations, and other assorted pieces of projects that had migrated in and were waiting for me to sort.  As I did so, the guys talked about Bernardo’s ambitions after he soon graduates.  He wants to either coach baseball, open a barber shop or own a trucking business.  He is clearly multi-talented!  I have no doubt he will coach baseball (his passion) and win a National Championship.  He's that type of a guy.

At the end of the cut, I mumbled something about Bernardo seeing me clean our kitchen.  He looked at me and with a big flash of a smile told me that I’m just like a Dominican mom.  “It would not feel like home if a mom wasn’t cleaning up or doing something around everything that is happening!” he exclaimed.

So wise, Bernardo, so wise.  

Moms who are healthy are similar the world around.  We want to care for our kids and family.  We want our kids to be healthy, happy and thoughtful.  Some of us might do a better job of tending to the piles of mail, but we all show our care and love. 

When I’ve gotten to travel to visit Fair Trader producers and farmers, our similarities have always been striking to me.  We connect when we watch our kids gleefully play together without needing to speak the same language.  We move around the kids and one another so similarly as care givers.   I love visiting producers to see their talents and skills with their products, for sure, but also just to be reminded of our sameness and our responsibility to care about one another.  

our kids playing

This pic is from when our family traveled to Guatemala with the owner of Unique Batik (a Fair Trade Importer) almost four years ago.  See our kids playing together in the background?  Mommas are working, Uncle Diago is translating for us - just a normal day in rural Guatemala! :)

Our basic core of caring is not limited to just moms, of course.  Dads, grandparents, extended family members, non-related people who love as if they are family – we are all similar in our desire and actions to care and love. 

I’m thankful that Fair Trade helps families have the means to care for their kids and extended families.  Time and time again, artisans and farmers say how thankful they are for Fair Trade because it allows them to feed their family, it allows their kids to go to school and allows them to stay with their families instead of having to migrate for work.  The producers passionately share their gratitude for safe, reliable, well paying work so that they can provide for their family.  May this means continue to flow to them and to more artisans and farmers!

Here’s to remembering that we are more the same than different, to the opportunities we have to learn from those around us and to moms and all care givers who keep on loving.

...and to great hair cuts :)

Bernardo and his Momma

Bernardo with his Momma a few years ago. I wish I could meet Adalgisa Garcia, but she is a Chemist in the Dominican and can't make it over for graduation.  We will cheer for Bernardo in her stead at the ceremony :)

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  • Your wonderful words are always insightful! You brightened this already beautiful day!

    Cindy Peck
  • You know how I feel about your writing, Amy Kay. You have a gift.

    Aunt Linda
  • I love reading your stories, filled with bits of observations and wise refections! Happy Mothers Day, Amy!

    Betty Nelson

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