I just returned from an accelerating week’s vacation, which was also a surprise visit to my family in Florida. Other than planning everything with my younger brother, I didn’t want any beans spilled, so I gave no clues and left no hints. My ten-year-old grandson accompanied me; his first time on a plane. He was so excited and never at a loss for words the entire flight.
The trip and the family time together were awesome!
My first stop was at my older brother’s. The shock on his face and the familiar choice words that he uttered in seeing me were priceless. His entire household welcomed me warmly. My three tall nephews are strapping young lads. We all talked at once and managed to hear every word. Soon, my sister-in-law and I enjoyed some overdue and much-needed girl talk alone (after kicking out all the boys).
Then we drove to my dad’s home where I was greeted with more hugs, tears and kisses. (Click on the link to a video and listen to my daddy’s exclamation phrases over and over of: “¡Ay, mi madre!” as well as, “¡Ay, Dios mio!”)
Before too long, savory food waft from the kitchen calling my name. I couldn’t wait to sample my step-mother’s Puerto Rican cuisine. She did not disappoint and prepared a delicioso feast of pollo frito (fried chicken), plátanos fritos (fried plantains), and arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas). Mmm hmm good! ¡Que rico la comida!
My sister later drove into town (also surprising our daddy – yes, it’s in our blood) and soon we were catching up with the latest news over family, food and fashion. I got to exchanged stories with her fine son, amazed by his sharp wit, then observed he and my grandson enjoying one another’s company with the latest video game. Finally, my dad announced it was time to play dominoes, beating everyone in the game just the way I always remembered.
In the days that followed we shopped, ate to our heart’s content, spent the day at the beach, the pool, and shared pictures on FaceBook (a vast difference from having to pull out dusty album books like the old days). Lastly, we enjoyed taking Daddy to Mai Kai Polynesian Dinner and Show.
I wanted — needed — to be present to help celebrate my daddy’s 80th birthday that Sunday, and so grateful to be able to escape my hectic schedule to make the grand event. If not, I would have been filled with regrets. Now I have wonderful additional memories to hold onto for a lifetime.
With every visit, conversation and reminiscing, we simply picked up where we left off so long ago. It felt good to be “home” again and reunite with my boricuan familia.
© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved