Warm. It feels so warm and fuzzy inside my heart this afternoon, and it's not just the sleep induced haze of the last of my dawn o'clock carne a campfire breakfasts. My heart is content today. I've not only spent nearly a week with my grandmother after 34 years apart (there, I said it) but I also have new family to enjoy; an uncle and aunt I'd never met, and more memories to cherish of my father and sister.
The feeling of contentment stems from the fulfillment of a dream started about 6 years ago. Ray and I were returning from our first overnight trip as a couple. Stopped to eat at a Mexican restaurant in Bremerton and sat across from a huge map which happened to show Tenamaxtlan, the place my family was from I told him. How could I know at that time that saying how I would like to take my daughter (if I had one) to visit my grandmother in Mexico would become a nearly desperate desire in the years to follow. Or that I would in fact go on to have two beautiful hijas with this guy who'd been just a horsey smelling bank customer who happened to make me break into a sweat everytime he came in.
It's funny how the paths of life twist and turn, sometimes becoming more worn, and sometimes vearing off in new directions as we age. How the people we think nothing of, or have never met, can suddenly change our lives... or reinforce our idea of how life should or could be lived. Of course my "former" life was so different than the one I live now i.e. lots of hot dogs, Hamburger Helper, and tuna fish, not to mention only my little boy dog Spunky to care about outside of my small circle of family and close friends. Not that I would trade any of that in for the healthy eating, country living, craft-a-licious life I enjoy now, but would I be in the same sort of life appreciating mental space without his influence?
I'm sure I would still love to spend time with people, and I was a scrap-a-holic long before any of the Bradshaws entered the picture. Would I have ever had reasons to consider how much a father's influence makes in a child's life? Would I know without a doubt that I am doing exactly what Nature wants from me most of the time...and enjoying communing with that force during the before dreaded GARDENING I've meticulously avoided my entire life- not probably lol.
Throughout this trip I spoke over and over to anyone trying to converse with me about how important my family is to me; how important recording and preserving my ancestral stories is. Putting a face and personality to names I hear infrequently gave me a gift I had not expected... the feeling of Belonging. Of not just knowing the name of the town my "other" family has lived in for over one hundred years, but of actually walking the streets to enter the houses where they still live. Of seeing stone walls surrounding the garden of a house my 97 year old grandmother has lived in for the majority of her life. I've slept in the same room that my four aunts shared as children. Perhaps the hand laid brick roof is different, but thats not the point.
I have been included in a Ruelas family reunion of sorts, and it feels Awesome! What a wonderful surprise to have my Uncle Gonzalo accompany us to the airport this morning, and as we wandered el mercado in historic Guadaljara, I reveled in shopping the stalls under their shared protective gaze. After picking out a few souvenirs bargained for on my behalf, it was only a few stops and a quick photo op later that again it was time to bid Adios to the Ruelas brothers.
I made sure to let them both know how much this trip has meant to me, and exacted promises that it would not be so many years to pass before we are together again. Mi Tio even offered me the use of his house should my family ever be able to visit with me... he may not realize that I'm so taking him up on that lol. The best farewell gift was the big smile on my father Efren's face as we hugged goodbye. I guess I have a bit of haggling in me as well to get something so valuable for free huh?
Flying through airport security, I've settled in for another long wait for my plane which isn't due to arrive for another 6 hours or so. Hey, when you can catch a two hour ride to town, you take it around here! And you know I wouldn't trade the time waiting here for the time I got with them both this morning for all the free airfare in the world. Well, maybe a little free airfare if anyone reading this has any?
After a much needed bathroom break, I selected Starbucks as the prime spot for an expulsion of emotion in typed form. Would you believe I have been sitting here for over an hour with 3/4 cup of Organic, non-instant cafe del dia left and an uneaten piece of cheesecake in front of me?! What could possible have kept me from these delicacies? Oh just a little run in with a beautiful woman returning home from caring for her father to Sacramento, the place of my next (5 hour) layover.
Martha and I both have Samsung phones, and that's how we first began conversation, with her inquiry as to whether I had a matching plug to charge her cell phone. Alas, the one cord I did not bring (I have three along to accompany my many gadgets) is the one that would have fit. As we small talked we shared pictures of our children, our reasons for visiting Mexico, and which estados we'd be returning home to in America.
When we moved on to our work and personal life, it became apparent that this was going to be another of those WhileWeWait4It moments that my mom's been blogging about for the last month. Would you believe Martha works as a hospice caregiver for cancer patients? We not only bonded over that, but shared how difficult it can be to remember that the more we love in life, and look for causes of celebration despite frustrations. I was able to send her home with some new ideas and a card for her husband. I'll be able to continue to develop our friendship through our shared information... a beautiful card for a lovely woman will be a pleasure to create as usual.
I've started and ended my trip with reminders that life isn't about what's missing, but about living each day to the fullest. It's about loving those around us with an open heart. About interpretting the actions and words of our loved ones without the expectation of hurt... I've wept a little (okay, a lot) more than usual, but the tears have been ounces of happiness, of gratefulness, of a non-alcohol induced I Love You, Man- No, I mean I Really Love You, Man! mentality that is up to me to maintain.
So while I wait a little longer and continue reliving my memories, I thank you for reading along with me again on my most recent journey. Hopefully you live close enough to join me this summer for a reinactment of my new three stone cooking method... but friends, lets try it around 5 at night, si? ¡Muchas gracias y adios por ahora amigos!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone