El Santo Niño

My great-grandmother was devoted to El Santo Niño, and he scared me. The statue of the Mexican version of the Holy Child, Jesus, in the church in which I grew up was frightening to me.

There was a particularly bad day at work a month or so ago, and I left our school assembly saying that somewhere I was sure Baby Jesus was crying. And I’m pretty sure he was.

The job I have taken is in a Holy Child school. It was so interesting because I didn’t put it all together until my second interview there.

I was speaking with the head of school about writing about pain and dark subjects as teenagers often do. My response was that it’s important to teach young people that there is joy in pain. There is something beautifully human about pain, and that we are responsible for finding the joy. I said that it was especially important in writing because it provides a forum in which to reflect on pain.

So, I told the story of what I wrote when my great-grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. I told the story of how she insisted that mops were unneccessary and that she always cleaned the kitchen floor on her hands and knees.

I do the same even now, I said. My grandma said it was better that way. And even more importantly, there is a certain humility that is derived from cleaning on your hands and knees. Especially in the kitchen.

I can’t help but feel that somewhere in all of the this my great-grandmother and my grandmother’s hands have spun destiny.


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