Thursday, November 2, 2017

Family Reunion

It's been a couple of weeks or so since I last wrote. I've been doing a lot of thinking after having a brief but unsettling conversation with my father last week. First, I'll explain how we got to that point... 

Following the destructive path of Hurricane Maria, my family moved forward with plans made long ago to celebrate my Titi's 75th birthday in Florida. The occasion took greater meaning when all 9 of my mother's siblings would attend. It had been decades since all 10 had been under the same roof... not to mention cousins and their kids (and in some cases, THEIR kids!) how could I miss that! Family came from PR, NY, NJ, CT... This event had turned into a bonafide Family Reunion! 

I traveled by airplane with my 7 year old diabetic son and 5 year old first time flyer. I was nervous because I hadn't flown with my son since he had been diagnosed almost five years ago. I didn't know what to expect since we have to travel with so many supplies and medicines. The trip was normal, meaning we encountered the normal inconveniences of traveling by air; we missed our connecting flight, had to stay in New Jersey overnight, ran to our gate only to find out it had been changed, that sort of occurrences! But we made it to Florida and we were so happy to be there. 

Seeing my family was the best! Love was in the air and gratitude was the theme of the night. I also got to hear the first hand accounts about the situation in Puerto Rico. I got a deeper understanding and a renewed sense purpose as I listened. I guess I've always had a superhero complex and in my mind I envisioned how the NY side of the family could rescue those who were still on the island. But the next day, three out of five uncles and aunts traveled back (almost back in time) to homes with little or no electricity and/or running water. Once again I felt sad for them and powerless, too. They assure us that they are and will be OK. 

So, as we continued our impromptu vacation, the kids got to hang out with their Abuelos and even visited Animal Kingdom. It was nice to be home with my parents, no matter how crazy they drive me and each other sometimes, ha, ha! 

When it was time to return home, my father decided to drive us in style. He recently purchased a couple of decades' old Bentley that once upon a time must have been the best of the best. It was once owned by a baseball player. I think the story behind the car is worth way more than the car itself, but it's my father's pride and joy. 

I sat in the back of the 'classic' car, middle seat because we couldn't figure out how to work the seat belt (and the littles needed to be strapped down), I was a little girl again. My father drove and I just stared out the window, I thought about nothing for once. Then my father called my name and said, " did you hear me? I'm talking about that thing, that blog you write and why I just can't read it... I don't want to know about all of the sad things that you and your husband go through. It makes me depressed to read that." I said nothing, what CAN I say to that? He's right, I don't get to share many lighthearted moments or laugh out loud scenarios. I guess if I read about me it would make me depressed too, I guess? Or maybe it would make me appreciate me more. It would make me proud to know that I raised someone who is brave enough to not care about what I think. So I finally responded, "I understand, my blog is not for everybody. I appreciate your honesty."

That conversation has stayed with me because it reminds me of  Matthew 25:35-36; 'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ The fact that nowhere in this passage does it say "as long as it is convenient or pleasant for you" is a clue that sacrifice is not fun and entertaining. I chose a life that may not have instant rewards, but I know that I have made a difference in someone else's life. Not only in my personal life, but also in my professional life, I want to be of service. I want to educate, I want to uplift, I want to make someone else's life a little bit better. So, I and many others, take on depressing circumstances and undesirable tasks with compassion and make the best of bad situations. Sometimes the outcome is good, at other times, not so much, but we keep trying. 

There is plenty of work ahead and to quote my father, "maybe I wouldn't have to try so hard if I had a husband!!!"  :)

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