El Cucuy

Stephanie G

My family is primarily from Germany, although I know very little about my German heritage. I consider myself an American. This is where I was born and raised. The only kind of heritage I feel I may have claim to is being a Texan. I like my sweet tea, chicken fried steak and love Tex-Mex cuisine. I also happen to like men with dark eyes and hair, so naturally, I married a Mexican man. Although he was born in Mexico and his parents still have trouble speaking English, he is like me, an American.

El Llorona is a heart breaking tale of a woman who drown her children for the man she loved. When he discovered she drown their children he left her and she took her own life. It is believed she now wonders the banks of rivers  crying.

El Llorona is a heart breaking tale of a woman who drown her children for the man she loved. When he discovered she drown their children he left her and she took her own life. It is believed she now wonders the banks of rivers crying.

When I first started seeing my husband, I had a drawn out idea of what Mexican people were like, loud drunk men and aggressive woman who are both opinionated. If you don’t match up to what is “right” they have no problem telling you. The woman should stay home and make tortillas, tamales and take care of the children. But his parents broke the mold I had created in my head. His mother is one of the hardest working people I have ever met, while his father will nap every chance he can get. His mother was so welcoming to me, and I loved her for that. I reluctantly moved in at Mr.Garza’s request after a month or so of dating. It was happening very fast, but it felt right to be with him, so I just embraced the relationship. Things were great, until after I got pregnant. I had no idea the cultural shock I was about to experience. I knew about the stories that some believe whole heartedly, La llorona, El Cucuy, and the very well know El Cupacabra.

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The notion that cats will suck the life from an infant mostly came from medieval days when cats were associated with evil spirits and witchcraft.

My Mother-in-law immediately offered the money up to get me to the doctor as soon as possible. She worried a lot because she struggled to carry pregnancies so many years before. My husband is her miracle, she lost two pregnancies before him and almost lost him as well. She was very concerned about how “delicate” I was, understandable of course, but also ignorantly. She would complain about driving over a bump too fast if I was in the car, bending over, sleeping on my stomach at 7 weeks along. Then a big debate came, I needed to get rid of my cat because he was going to suck the life from our new born baby. I can understand a cause for concern of suffocation if a cat decided to lay on a baby but this was absolutely ridiculous.

I was very ill during this pregnancy, smells were a big problem. Burnt tortillas and scorched oil would always set me off, but somehow it was all in my head because this does not happen to Mexican women…. 32 lbs later, a prescription for zofran and trip to the hospital for dehydration and my husband is FINALLY able to get through to them. Unfortunately they still made beans weekly, so I would just try not to be home that day.

You must either stay inside or put a key or safety pin on your clothes to reflect the light of the sun or moon.

You must either stay inside or put a key or safety pin on your clothes to reflect the light of the sun or moon.

That summer there was a lunar eclipse, I was very excited about watching it. What harm could come to me or my growing child sitting under the stars? Well, If I don’t have a metal key or paperclip on during, my child will have a cleft lip/palate. I was so confused and I asked her wear the belief came from and she said that’s what happens in Mexico. My daughter was born perfectly normal at 7 lb 1oz. It was a great and wonderful day, then my mother-in-law informs me that I need to make sure I cover my head and ears when I leave the hospital. She told me that when I go outside I must do this for 40 days after delivery. If I don’t cover my head I will get something like the flu and if I don’t cover my ears I will hear the sound of a train roaring for 6 months… I thought my cat sucking the life out of my child was crazy but this completely blew me away. Then they told me about “Ojo”. If someone looks at my my child and thinks she’s pretty they must touch my child, otherwise she will become sick. I don’t know about other people, but I told a lot of people to not touch my child in grocery stores and restaurants. My daughter did not become violently ill, in fact I only recall one ear infection that developed from a cold she caught from me.

There I was pregnant with my second and unexpected child. I didn’t test positive for almost 3 months. When I went in

This belief stems from the Aztecs. They believe that the gods took a bite out of the moon or sun and would also take a bite out of your child's mouth.

This belief stems from the Aztecs. They believe that the gods took a bite out of the moon or sun and would also take a bite out of your child’s mouth.

for my first ultrasound I was 13 weeks along. I showed my mother-in-law the ultrasound image, and immediately before genitals are even visible she decides that I’m having a boy.(My first daughter was a boy as well) I told her we don’t know that yet and she insisted that she did. 20 week anatomy checkup and something was wrong, our baby was measuring 1 week smaller then SHE should. There was an eclipse that was going to happen, so I go to enjoy it with friends and get my mind off the worry. I finally go to see the specialists and they confirm what the other ultrasound technician saw. Our daughter is measuring small and her right foot was not fully formed. Considering all the other issues that could possibly be wrong considering her small size I was put on high risk. We kept this secret for over a month just to further confirm that there was no mistake. As soon as we told her the first thing she jumped to was the eclipse and she was convinced in the ultrasound she saw a cleft lip. I felt as though she was blaming me for my daughters deformity, I didn’t feel she was, I knew she was.

To get my mind off of all the stress of worrying about my unborn baby, caring for my 1 year old and dealing with my superstitious mother-in-law. I decided to have a friend over, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I told my husband my friend Jason would be coming to visit. My father-in-law came in from the store, I was sitting on about 6-7 ft away from Jason playing a video game. My father-in-law immediately calls my husband and tells him I have a man in the house… I was completely offended, even more so when I had a conversation with my mother-in-law and what she was implying. After that, I didn’t invite friends over unless my husband was there.

We still have our issues now, mostly with disagreements about how a child should be raised. I believe in strict rules and punishment if needed. My in-laws seem to think he shouldn’t tell a child no unless they are going to jump off a bridge. Setting our differences aside, I want to make it clear that my mother-in-law no matter how infuriating is an amazing woman and I look up to her. She is a breast cancer survivor and she works two jobs still, when she should probably be taking it easy. My father-in-law…I think the best I can say about him is he sicks by his wife and that in itself is something to admire.

S Garza

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One thought on “El Cucuy

  1. Some superstitions are really weird, aren’t they? My grandmother is like that, don’t sit in the corner of the table because you won’t get married, don’t eat out of a pot because you’ll argues with your in laws, sometimes she cracks me up 😀 Have a lovely week, best wishes to you and your family

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