In counting my blessings this Thanksgiving holiday, I can’t help but think about all of the challenges (See Part One) we’ve experienced these past few months. It’s been refreshing for me to enjoy some quality time with my long-distance familia, especially being with Daddy again. Those of you who’ve read my memoir, you know how grateful I am that my maternal grandmother kept in contact with my dad after he and my mother divorced. I was only three when my parents separated and five when their divorce was finalized. I am happy to report that in my adult years, I’ve come to know the love of my heavenly Father, and I am equally happy to report that I’ve come to know the love of my earthly father as well. I know many don’t have this luxury. Even though miles separate us, I am thankful that Daddy is still around and so full of life. I wouldn’t change anything about him; I love him just the way he is – young at heart!
Within a couple of days, we had the pleasure of visiting two of Daddy’s cariñosas sisters who genuinely exude warm, big, and loving hearts. Titi Blanca and Titi Viviana were gracious during our visits. Not to be outdone by the other, both can sure cook up a storm. Their specialties were arroz con pollo, a delicious one-pot meal closely related to paella, and ropa vieja, which is shreds of meat, peppers, and onions resembling a mess of colorful rags. We helped ourselves to seconds … or thirds and chased it down with a warm cup of cafe con leche. Unfortunately, we missed seeing another aunt on this trip but promised Titi Edie that on our next visit to Florida, she would be the first stop.
My hubby’s busted ribs from his 20′ fall are still healing. He is such a trooper. Although needing to do a lot of sitting, even taking naps when allowed, he still wanted to take part in all the festivities of our mini-vacation. We spent half a day lounging under the sunny Florida skies at Bayside, the shopping, dining, and entertainment center of Downtown Miami. We enjoyed the live music and watching couples dancing to the merengue. We skipped the booze and ordered shots of espresso Cuban coffee (but I like mine with plenty of warm milk,) and we ate pastelitos de guayaba, mmmmm.
Our oldest, Anna Marie, joined us on this trip, flying in before we did. The last time she visited la familia was on her 18th birthday — 22 years ago! We got to celebrate her birthday again in Miami, which was pretty special.
On our last evening, the hardest part is always saying goodbye. You cannot keep the tears at bay as they start to fall. I still hate goodbyes, especially with long-distance loved ones. After Mark’s accident and in preparation for this getaway, a lot of prayers had gone forth. There were numerous times when I wasn’t sure we were going to make this trip for the holidays. But I am so thankful to the Lord that together we made it, and together we are stronger than before. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, things come into focus and the pettiness of yesterday takes a back seat. We dare not take one another for granted. Look around you. Life is worth living when you begin to count your blessings.
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved