Hearts of Palms

Ever since we started with the construction of our new house back in September 2015, I knew there were busy and hectic months to come, but I never anticipated time flying like this and so many things happening too fast.

Our kids, along with us have witnessed ever step from the beginning: grading a lot that was wild with the biggest weeds I have ever seen, piles of rocks and several dozen fruit trees.

They have learned what it is to pick fruit, juice it and drink it (despite their many objections to Ruby Star Grapefruit Juice), along with the benefits it brings.

They have seen -painfully slow at times- what it takes to build what will soon be their home. The bones of the house in the framing stage, the trusses that would hold the roof; the “veins” in the form of plumbing and electrical wiring.

The insulation and dry walling, and even the tiling.

For months they both suffered many visits to the tile stores, until they begged me to just choose one. We used to have a Sample Table at our house with everything I liked and wanted to compare and they never really understood why it was so important to me to put it all together: wall color, wood stains, tiles, glass mosaics, trim, and flooring.  They stubbed their little toes more than once on the tiles I insisted on lying flat on the floor, and everyone, even my husband was annoyed because it took a third of our dining area. But that sample table made me feel good, made me feel like the interior decorator that we cannot afford, made me feel smart about the decisions I made for everything I have chosen so far. My sample table held many Wish List Items that slowly had to be discarded as I learned how much it cost to put it all together.

I learned to prioritize, to accept my financial reality and stay in budget as best as I could. I am not complaining. I am aware that our current situation is better than the average citizen of this country and also about the fact that we are very fortunate to have good paying jobs and healthy bodies that allow us to work hard for this lifetime milestone project.

But this entry is not about the house that is about to be finished. It is about time, about daily experiences that mark my days, and my kid’s maturity as well.

A week ago I went to Costco and while I was looking for Avocado Oil, I found Hearts of Palms from Costa Rica. A true treat, heavenly to me, that is only available once a year. I stocked up on 3 or 4 pairs of jars and then I thought: this is just like a birthday, like an anniversary, because I remember like it was yesterday, when I bought my Hearts of Palms in 2015.

That day I thought of all the things that have happened between Hearts of Palms Seasons, and realized A LOT had taken place.  My son is almost my height now and he is only 11 years old. He has learned about the human body…all of it. He actually asked me days ago if Teenagers can make babies or…was it an adult thing only?  He checks out his hair every morning before walking out the door to school. He does sit-ups and push-ups daily, because “he needs more muscles”. He wants hair chest too. He said to me recently “I can’t wait to hit puberty! How long does it last? Like 2 weeks?”  I choked in laughter.

Ever since he was a toddler, he has used wide shoe sizes, so finding cool shoes for him has always been a challenge. And just a week ago, looking at a conversion chart (kids / adults) I learned that my son, my little boy wears the equivalent to Men’s Size 8!!!!! Thrilled to discover that I could now shop in the Men’s Section of Zappos.com (where we would find more variety in Wide sizes), I was also sad that now his shoes were as big as mine, not cute small shoes anymore, and yes, more expensive than mine too.

Also, between Hearts of Palms Seasons, one of my best friends went through a very tough Cancer treatment and I am thrilled to say, she is finally done. She is a tough cookie, a true survivor and to top it off, an amazing friend.

Another one lost her husband, which for me was an extremely sad experience that definitely taught me several life lessons and made me realize and value everything I have even more.

Another endearing memory that emerged was my latest trip with my mother; our all-girls trip that we try to do every other year or so. New York City, per her request.  Despite the fact that she moves in a wheelchair, she still chose this hectic, fast paced city as our destination.

“I want to see Central Park” she said. So we followed. It turned out to be an amazingly fun and exhausting trip. I walked all the miles I never walk in California (except on the treadmill). I ate many delicious things I found in all restaurants we visited – no restrictions whatsoever- took as long as I could to look at paintings in the museums and Galleries we visited. Sat down at least once to enjoy a meal all by myself, watching New Yorkers come and go. Skipped the shopping as much as I could. A dear friend, who is an Architect (he helped us design our new house) told me before I left for NYC…”When you are tempted to shop, stop and think: every dollar I spend here, is one less for my new house”. Well, it worked!  I felt no pain abandoning stores or completely ignoring the beautiful merchandise that the shops displayed.

The last thing that came to mind as I tried to recollect the last 12 months experiences was Christmas. We normally spend every other Christmas in Mexico with my family. But this last one it was out of the question. Not affordable, period. So we decided to stay here, just the four of us. I have no regrets. It was the smart thing to do. But a little bit of a heartache came to me and it suddenly felt like ages since the last time I saw my parents and siblings.

Every day is an anniversary to the year before. So I am not going to wait for next Hearts of Palm Season to reflect, value, cherish my life, one day at a time. I shouldn’t wait for my birthday to celebrate another year of life, or my husbands’ or my kids’.

Even though some days it’s just work, cooking (or pretending to cook), cleaning, supervising homework, acting as referee with my kids, commuting to/from work, grocery shopping, doing laundry, that sometimes ends with Non Stop Presidential Campaign that is sickening to listen to now, every day still has something special, something that made me laugh, or made me really mad, something I learned for sure. Something that maybe I will remember in months or year to come. Every day. 🙂

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