Easter is a tremendously special time of year for me. Not only does it signify rebirth, renewal of spirit and, but to me, it signifies family. The heart and core of what it means to be a family. Egg hunts, coloring eggs, making cascarones, bbq, deviled eggs, laughter, Tejano music, confetti spread all over our lawn, aprons, new shoes, hats, baskets, memories…all of that.
On Friday afternoon, we had plans to take a family photo session. Knowing this, I scheduled an appointment with a BFF for a blowout. If you know me, you know the fits I have with my hair. I love it and loathe it. But this…the blowout…it was worth it! If you follow me on Instagram, then you know the before.
I just had to maintain that look for the rest of the day. No big deal, right? But the day flew by quickly! One by one, they arrived from out of town. I received the text from my sister that my Grandmother had landed. Immediately, we went into full court press-cleaning frenzy at home (thank you Primo & Prima!). Then, it was just to a point to where, it was what it was and that was that.
Mom and Dad arrived and my children squealed with delight at the sight of their grandparents. My sister arrived with her family and Grandma/Bisabuela. When we were settled, we gave mom her 60th birthday gift. (more on that later) Then, we gathered ourselves to go take family photos. Thanks so very, very, very much to Mrs.Mandi and her crew for coming out to help capture these photos. I really didn’t want to look like the idiot running to beat the timer. I mean, I’ve done that many times, but this image had to be perfect. And you know what, it was!
You know what else was perfect? This one…
fighter personified. How healthy and happy she looks, despite all that she’s been through this past year.
My most favorite moment is when I arrived home from running errands and my mother and grandmother proudly proclaimed that they had swept the patio and were willing to help out with whatever else. These fragile women, were far from frail. They are very much able-bodied and strong. Once upon a time, I might have been offended by their offer to help. Not feeling adequately prepared or clean enough. The current version of myself, appreciates the help and knows what it means when it is not only offered, but also the gift of accepting the offer to help. We were going to be having Tesla’s 1st birthday party and there was still stuff to do!
So I pulled out the old card table and set it up in the breakfast area, gathered all of the ingredients and tools, and set them to work. My mother chopping fruit for a fruit salad, my grandmother making guacamole and deviled eggs. I put on some Motown, and I danced in the kitchen with Tesla on my back, listening to them talk and reminisce. I seriously wish I would have recorded them. But that memory is etched in my mind. That memory has made that room special and hopeful instead of full of sorrow (because it was Guapo’s room). Women in the kitchen, talking and cooking…platicando y cocinando, los mujeres de la casa. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. If Mari hadn’t been napping, she would have been cutting veggies, too. Dad and Brother sat in the living room blowing up balloons with helium. They were talking and reminiscing too. Eventually, I turned off the radio just to be still and listen to them.
Once the dining room was set up to my liking, I went to grab the mop to clean the floor and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had run the vacuum over it to pick up the crumbs, but I was not emotionally prepared to wipe away the lick marks made in the wood left by Guapo when he scavenged. Even though the floor looked filthy, it would be my way of having him there. My niece, with her heart of gold, remembered Guapo simply by saving a single cascarone and cracked it on his grave. Through tears, I grinned and reminded her that he would have licked her ankles in gratitude. She smiled and remembered that gesture, too.
Easter Sunday, we had overcast skies threatening rain. We didn’t wake up early enough for the first Mass. As we walked to our service, I prayed that the rains would hold off long enough for us to not get poured on. We were lucky because they didn’t! They even held off just long enough for Don to grill some steaks. Mom made potato salad. I had half a steak. Even though it was good, I decided to continue my 98% fruit/veggie diet.
That evening, we went to my sister’s for Easter dinner. I rode with my brother over there. At this point in time, the rains had stopped and we had this gorgeous sunset!
She’d made ham, potato salad, steamed asparagus, deviled eggs, and lemon torte. We watched the end of “The Help.” I sat in the corner watching Mari help herself to my mother’s food. I watched my Grandmother as she told her stories. Even though Tesla was at the end of her rope and we had to leave, I didn’t want to. I was holding tightly to stretch out that moment and make it last as long as possible.
I hope each of you had a wonderful Easter.