Te Encontraré – PART V

(To read PART I, go HERE.)
(To read PART II, go HERE.)
(To read PART III, go HERE.)
(To read PART IV, go HERE.)

Te Encontraré – PART V
~El sábado me casé~

Years later, I admitted the truth to my parents, that our first son was not actually an accident after all.

But, this is how Carlos met my parents for the first time, sitting on their sofa, his head lowered, barely able to make eye contact with my father. Carlos had wanted to ask for my hand in marriage in the traditional way, but I don’t remember if he was able to actually speak. More likely, to put an end to the awkward silence and get it over with, like ripping off a band-aid, the words spilled from my mouth,

“Mom, Dad…This is Carlos. We need to talk to you… I’m …pregnant… and we want to get married… and…He…isn’t in the United States legally…”

My parents cycled through disbelief, anger, sadness – the entire grieving process in just minutes. There were a lot of tears, questions – some we could answer, (How far along are you?), others I knew not to answer, (Dammit, Tracy! What were you thinking?!) and emotions so strong I felt like I would choke on them. At this point my mother probably wished I was in that Turkish prison she always joked I’d get locked up in, at least then I’d serve my sentence and be free – but this, there was no way out of this. I had sentenced myself to life.

Some families would have turned their backs, but not mine. By the end of the evening, my parents embraced us both, encircled in their arms, they vowed to help us in any way they could, and prayed over us … prayed that God would take care of us despite our foolishness.

On a rainy chilly day in mid-January, only having known each other for 5 months, and me pregnant by 2 months, Carlos and I married in a quiet courtroom ceremony with little fanfare, surrounded by family who wished us the best, but probably feared the very worst.

Like I told you in the beginning, some of this story would be better remembered differently – it isn’t exactly fairy tale material, but we’ve been married 12 1/2 years now. We have a 12 year old son and an almost 9 year old son. We have been through hell and back multiple times – this marriage has not been easy. Sometimes we didn’t know if we would make it, but we’re still together, and in love more than I ever could have imagined…Despite the circumstances of our imperfect romance, so far, we have lived happily ever after.

El domingo la vi en misa,
el lunes le sonreí,
el martes me presentaron,
el miércoles fuí a su casa,
el jueves me declaré,
el viernes le di el anillo,
y el sábado me casé.-Unknown


  1. Absolutamente preciosa tu historia. Nos has abierto tu corazón de manera tan hermosa!Te juro que siento recorrí la historia con ud, cual niña quien escondida ve y sigue a una pareja enamorada. Que esos 12 1/2 años de amor se conviertan en muchísimos más!

    • @ Amanda – The quote is one I got from a book of very old Spanish (as in Spain), poetry. It has the author listed as “anonymous”. This poem is one I gave to Carlos on our first anniversary because it reminded me of our very short courtship.

  2. ¡Qué historia de amor más increíble, Tracy! ¡Los felicito! I’m so happy you shared it with us.

    Marriage is difficult, probably one of the most difficult relationships between humans, pero de vez en cuando es bueno parar y tratar de acordarse how it used to be at the beginning…the stuff that brought you together in the first place, ¿no crees?

    You’re lucky you had your family’s support because that’s normally not the case. Just curious, do your children know this story?

    • @ Roxana – Gracias por tus palabras. Yes, writing this story out in this way has reminded me how very lucky in love we are. The past few days I have found myself staring at him and seeing the boy that he was. At first he thought I was up to no good because I was walking around with a smile on my face which he found suspicious in some way. LOL. I told him it was just remembering the early days and writing about them that was making me smile so silly.

      We are VERY lucky to have had my family’s support – emotional, spiritual, financial. We moved in with them for the first year, (how very Latin of us, no? My poor parents! Gringo children are supposed to move OUT, not bring more in! LOL.) My mother took care of me during my pregnancy, (I was very sick.), they found an immigration lawyer, paid the bill, (not cheap!), … My father drove Carlos to work since he didn’t have a license. They went to a lot of trouble to make space for us in the house, treated Carlos like a son. My father especially stepped up and showed Carlos many things about how to be a good husband and father — things Carlos was not able to learn from his own father, since his father passed when he was younger. Living with them also allowed Carlos to send money back home to pay a debt. To come to the United States he had taken a loan out on the house. If he didn’t pay it back, the house would be lost, (and his mother was living in it.)

      As for if my children know the story – they know bits and pieces of it. They know their father was undocumented. They’ve heard the story of how he came here and where we met. I’m kind of afraid to tell them the rest – about how stupid we were. LOL. My mother used to say, “Tracy, I hope you have a child like you some day.” … Needless to say, vivo en miedo, and I don’t want to give them any ideas.

      • Lol! Tracy, this was truly a telenovela in the making! ;) My story is very different, but I can connect with so much of what you’ve said here. I especially appreciate your bit in the beginning about so many of us not having to understand the struggle of undocumented residents…or the stories of those difference from us in general. In so many White communities we have the luxury of avoiding certain issues and carrying on in ignorance. It is a blessing that we are no longer blind. Thanks for sharing your amazing story. =)

  3. I have enjoyed reading your story. I hope it doesn’t end here. (Could there possibly be a book??? A true love story!)

    The Deputy and I moved in together after knowing each other for only six weeks, married less than a year later. He moved in because of necessity, he was losing his roommate and could not afford his rent by himself. That freaked my family out!

    Another story… my grandmother proposed to my step grandfather because my great grandfather was going to throw her off the farm. He said a widowed young woman would not be allowed to own a farm. She then marched out to the barn and proposed to the hired man, my step grandpa. They grew to love each other and was married for over 50 years. AND they bought out her family and was very successful at farming (because of her great head for business).

    • @ Deputy’s Wife – What more should I tell? LOL. Maybe I will tell about how Carlos came to the U.S., or about our early years together – but later. I need a break since it weighs heavy on me to remember these things.

      Thanks for sharing your stories, too. I absolutely love the one about your grandmother more than I can say.

  4. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better… you were reckless in love! That is the single bravest love story I have ever heard. Swimming rivers during war times is not as brave as a deliberate accidental pregnancy! You are lucky to be so fertile (both of you).

    • @ *pol – I don’t know if I agree that having sex is braver than swimming a river during war times, but I’ll accept the compliment. LOL.

      As for fertility – this is something I took for granted until a dear friend of mine went through a difficult time “trying to conceive”. The women in my family can get pregnant on demand and knowing that not everyone can… well, it breaks my heart. It wasn’t something I ever thought about back then, but my thoughts and prayers go out to those who don’t have it so easy.

  5. At last, the resolution! The ending definitely surprised me, but I think it is one of the most beautiful love stories told. To love without prejudice, without borders or boundries –that is love in its purest form. I agree with *pol–perhaps you called it foolishness, but what you did was very brave. Though I am not certain why, I’ve always feared pregnancy more than death itself. Totally irrational, I know! Congratulations on making it work for 12 years- I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. Thank you Señora Lopez for sharing your story with us. I hope one day I can share mine with you (& hopefully it will include a happy ending!)

    • @ customcreative – Well, I have some weird phobias (the telephone, for one), so while I don’t totally understand the fear of pregnancy, I empathize in a way. Fears aren’t always rational, (and I guess there is more to fear with pregnancy than a telephone – so I’m even stranger than you!) ;)

      I also hope you’ll share your love story with me one of these days. Suerte y Amor!

  6. Well, Sra. Lopez, Tracy, I think you should write the book!

    And yet, being in an intercultural marriage myself, I do understand the challenges, past and present, and how difficult it can be to go through all the memories again, both happy and sad. When you go through memories, you feel the feelings again, verdad?

    So, no pressure about the novel. When the time is right for you to begin, you’ll feel the muse sitting gently on your shoulder. Meanwhile, I’ll think of you loving and caring for your men, the big one and the little ones (well, I guess 12 1/2 isn’t so little any more, lol.)

    Dios te bendiga.


    • @ RitaElizabeth – Well, I’m writing books, (fiction), but no plans for a memoir for now – though I appreciate the interest!

      And yes – remembering brings the feelings up fresh and strong (the good and the bad!) and it’s kind of exhausting!

      Thank you for your wish of blessings. I very much wish the same for you and your family.

  7. What a beautiful story Tracy! You are an amazing writer and storyteller. I felt like I was there present with you as I read each word.

    I admire your bravery- foolishness? I don’t think so. It was brave for you to marry him, only knowing him for so little, but then again, when one finds “that right person”, it does not matter.

    I can’t wait to read one of your books. So get to it chica!!!! lol

    • @ Grace – Not sure what my father’s reaction was since I left it to my Mom to tell him. I mentioned it off-handedly to my Mom not too long ago. She wasn’t amused, didn’t say much. She mostly shook her head and said something about “sometimes I could kill you” LOL.

      I laugh now, but I did feel bad because I know she was thinking about all the stress and sadness she went through and that I had actually caused it, not accidentally like she thought – but on purpose.

      Thankfully my parents are forgiving people – I don’t take them for granted. I think that ultimately they believe something along the lines of “all’s well that end’s well”. They love their grandchildren (the “pretend accident” and his younger brother.) None of us can imagine our lives without the boys.

      Also, my Mom always told me, “It’s not the wedding that matters, but the marriage.”

  8. Also, I just wanted to point out that you have an amazing family! I’m touched by how supportive they were of you and your hubby in such a situation. It couldn’t have been easy, but you are most definitely blessed!

    • You’re right – I don’t think I realized it back then, but looking back, my parents have put up with a lot of crazy situations thanks to me. I wasn’t an easy child and I’m sure I’ll pay dearly for it with my own kids one of these days. LOL. Karma…

  9. I read the entire story and wish I had found your blog earlier. Thank you for your candor.

    Ramón already had his permanent residency and had brought his ex-wife and family over from the Dominican Republic. He was separated from her and I was divorced from my first husband. We were, in essence, two abandoned birds without a nest. We have no children together, and at 45 I am at the age where my reproductive system is beginning to go haywire. I have not tried to prevent pregnancy, nor are we trying to conceive. It just hasn’t happened after 5 years.

    We do have 3 grandchildren from my stepson and my stepdaughter is having her first baby in September. I wonder how many women in my age group have become “Latina de corazón” either by marrying young and staying together, or, like in my case, because they were reborn as they approached the autumn of life.

  10. This is a great story!! Thanks for sharing. I think it’s very romantic – you and Carlos wanted to be together and you both made it happen.

    Life is short and the way I see it is when something feels right you should just do it y ya esta.

    Buenas suerte.
    un beso.

  11. Hi Tracy. I know you wrote this last year but I’m just reading it now. it’s so romantic how it became. I knew you two went thru hills and valleys through out your relationship but look at you guys now? What a great story. Have you read mine? :)http://newyorkchica.com/2010/09/ramblings-how-it-all-started-the-story-of-us/ I hope you enjoy it.

  12. I think this is the real fairtale my dear! WoW! No, kidding marriage isn’t easy. Why do people think it stops at the wedding. That’s just when the fun gets started. Marriage – can not ever be described in plain words because for no two couples will it ever be the same experience.

    My mom told me something recently which I find to be so true. When it’s time for a child to leave the nest- they just go and take the risk without looking back and nothing is worth more than that -at that very moment! That’s what you and Carlos did! Beautiful…super AWW!!!

  13. Tracy me encanto tu historia, es muy tierna y llena de suspenso a la vez. Has logrado transportarme y vivirla en cada paso. Desde que te sigo siempre crei que tenias raices latinas, pero estaba muy equivocada.
    Como salvadoreña me llena de mucho orgullo que quieras tanto nuestra cultura. Muchas felicidades a ambos y gracias por compartir tu historia.

  14. Wow! Your beautiful story made me cry. And gives me more hope. My story with my husband is very similar to yours, except he was deported back to El Salvador. We are still waiting for his return. Our prayers never go unheard. :) You’re awesome. God bless you guys.

    • Jaci, I’m so sorry to hear your husband was deported. I hate that we live in a world where this is even possible – That two people who love each other can be separated for lack of a piece of paper… it makes no sense at all. My thoughts are with you both and I hope you’re able to beat the odds.

  15. Muy bonita historia de amor!!!! Me identifico contigo. Yo soy de El Salvador y me case con un Americano en California. A pesar de las barreras culturales, nosotros estamos muy felices.

  16. I found this story on the “how I met Carlos” section. I went there, but didn’t expect this.
    Absolutely beautiful! I don’t know about you, but this could be a romantic book or a beautiful movie. I like to read, and do you know how I know it’s a good book? when I can picture in my mind every word I am reading. So Honest.
    Congrats! not only for your story, but for your marriage :)
    love every quote and pieces of songs you add on the story, specially the last one.

    • Thanks, Blanca. I really appreciate your kind comment. I’m writing a book but it isn’t a memoir. Hopefully some day you’ll want to read that too :)

  17. Tracy – your story and mine are very similar. Only I was a widow with 2 small kids when I met my Salvatruca :) We were also rushed by that same law (we married at Arlington, VA courthouse 1/2/98) We have been married 16 1/2 years, my husband is now a US citizen and I have a thriving Salvadoran baking business in my home just outside of DC. I found your blog because a customer asked if I could make Marquesote … My Salvadoran family lives in Mejicanos, San Salvador – not far from yours in Soyapango. We have property in Guasapa and hope to retire there some day.

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