Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

The End of an Era

Four months ago, when my mom got off that airplane and greeted my 38–weeks–pregnant belly, a new future event was created in time: The day that she would leave and go back to her home. That day is today.

Today is a very sad day for me, not because it marks the beginning of real life for our family of three… Not because it means that I’ll have to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again… Not because I’ll have to spend all my time with Joaquin without the possibility of any breaks during the day… No… I’m sad, because today “Team Joaquin” has lost one of his very important members… Because I know that Joaquin — as little as he is — is going to miss my mom’s presence… Because I hate that my mom won’t be close to keep seeing all the progress in the development of her only grandchild… Because my mom gave me, my son, and my husband SO MUCH. She took care of all of us for four months, away from her home, her things, and her freedom; abiding our home’s rules and culture; helping me with what was needed, not necessarily what was fun. And although we both said that we’d be strong, it’s impossible not to see her and miss her today, everywhere and every moment in my home.

Now that she’s gone, I feel like things should be back to what they were before she came. But they’re not. Now, there’s a sweet baby sleeping on a swing close by. And I am that baby’s mom. I hope I’m as good a mom to him as my mom is and always has been to me.

Gracias por todo Nani. Te quiero muchísimo.

Nani and Joaquin at almost 4 months


  1. On , Jennifer wrote:

    Aw, that must be rough. When you get used to that extra love being around, it is difficult to imagine things any other way. But, you had a wonderful experience and opportunity that so many people never give. You’ll always have those memories, and the bond with her grandson is undoubtedly set; even though he will never remember her physical presence, he will always know of her love.

    As for you, I have no doubt that you are a fantastic mother (and Joey a fantastic father) and also that you are far more confident in yourself than you may think.

    So, how are you doing?

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    What a nice little comment… Thank you for that.

    I’m doing a lot better by now. Day 1 was the toughest. It’s so hard when you’re the one that stays… You see the ghost of the missed person everywhere. Farewells really suck!… But mom’s thinking of coming back this year. Hopefully Joaquin will still remember her. To him, we were the main three people in his life until now.