She’s learning to be a baby, I feel, after spending months enduring blood transfusions, steroid treatments, as well as poking and prodding with needles, feeding tubes and nasal cannulas. She’s learning to rely on her parents for her needs, after taking on nurses head on: Intubated at birth, a week later Artie yanked the tube out of her mouth, forcing her medical team to come up with other solutions to help her. She was born a fighter, and when I see the strength and purpose in Zoe Saldana’s pictures in our May cover story, I see Artie.
The same day we brought Artie home, I attended Dolores Prida’s funeral. When I received news of the Dolores Dice guru’s death, a cruel picture entered my head. I saw myself and Artie sitting in Dolores’s El Barrio, NY patio on a summer day, with Dolores meeting my little one for the first time. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized just how much I’d wanted Dolores to meet her, something that will now never happen.
But in putting together our tribute to her, “Adios, Dolores,” we made a copy of every one of her columns. I’m putting a ribbon through the stack and keeping it for Artie. It’s a guide for how to be everything I want her to be: brave, strong, confident, independent, smart and funny. Like Dolores.
A version of this column appeared in the May issue of Latina.