Like birds flying in a V

As the Holiday season ends and the kids’ School resumes, my life slowly but surely goes back to its routine that –although sometimes I complain about- gives me some emotional stability which, right now, I really need.

As part of the Christmas common things to do in our house, my daughter and I watched a dozen or so Hallmark movies about Christmas: family, the appreciation of life and traditions. Even though these movies frequently fall into the “cheesy” category for me, I have to agree that most of them (not all!) have left me a small lesson, a warm cozy feeling, a yearning to do some good and mostly to appreciate all I have- which is a lot.

Also, I baked a dozen and a half batches of Maple Walnut Blondies. Yes, it is non-stop work in the kitchen, but the sweet homey scent that fills our home for 2 or 3 weeks and the time spent with my little assistant is something I actually look forward to. Not to mention to share them with our friends and seeing the smile on their faces as they open their box and smell the maple.

On December 18th I put away all the ingredients I usually keep out handy during baking season; I replaced the small bottle of Maple extract last- closed the door of the cupboard and thought “I am not taking this little bottle out for another year…who knows that 2018 will bring!”  Last time I used it, my father had passed just weeks before , and it would’ve been hard to believe if someone told me then ,that the next time I would bake blondies my Mom would be gone too .

We might not have many traditions in our family, but baking is definitely one of them, and I will keep doing it while I can.

The Holidays were hard, but not hard as in super depressing with constant crying, but more like melancholic, numb, lacking.  We spent Christmas together, my siblings and I with each of our families. It was the very first Christmas with only two generations at the table. Us and our kids, that is all.  It felt strange, as if we were waiting for someone to arrive and they never did. But I know our Mom and Dad where present in their own way, feeling so very happy to see we are together, the three of us, in heart and soul.

After Christmas my brother and his family flew back with us and spent 10 days here at our home in California. That gave me immense comfort; it was like a continuation of the festive season with family members so dear and close to my heart. It was hard to feel lonely, our house had 5 kids and 4 adults and our puppy. I loved every minute of it.  Being away from my hometown – and my husband’s as well- is hard.  Especially for the kids. Weekends and holidays it is always only the 4 of us, so having the extended family so close and feeling that sense of belonging is a gift.

The kids are 12 (almost 13) and 11 now so my husband and I have started to go out on short dates without hiring a sitter. They are still getting used to it…and me too.  We recently went to watch a Movie (The Shape of Water). Despite of the fact that is has been nominated for half a dozen things, I have to say it is not my cup of tea.  When I go to the movies, I prefer not to be reminded about the brutality and perversity of human nature.  I can turn on the news for that. But I applaud the creative way in which the director presents symbolisms of what we are, what moves us, what fulfills our most inner self, through the use of his “monsters”.  Just the next day, I was pumping gas, standing next to my car as a flock of birds passed over me lined up in a perfect V. As the leader slightly moved and turned the rest followed like a perfect choreography.  And I wondered, how come we cannot all drive on the freeways like that? With synchronicity and common sense.   Why are there crashes every single day and people injured or dead? I smiled to myself as minutes later I embarked on one more commute to San Diego, thinking….Well, birds fly and focus on their flight. They don’t change radio stations or text or call people while they drive, and specially, THEY DON’T DRINK!

This was just another reminder of how wild life is often more civilized than humans.

2018 is just starting and although I do not believe in resolutions I unconsciously have been more determined about being in touch with people I love and care for, here in town or far away, it doesn’t matter.

Like I have mentioned in my blog before, I totally disapprove of the way technology was messed with (if not ruined) the way in which we reach out and communicate with our loved ones.  Happy Birthday wishes, congratulations for a new born baby, a graduation,  Get Well wishes, and unbelievably , sympathy over the loss of a loved one, are often reduced to a Facebook public line, (or even worse a thumbs up on someone else’s line) or a Whatssapp message. I find it pretty sad for our little ones that already think it is awkward to make a phone call so say hello to someone.

I have made more calls in the past 2 months or so, than I have made in years to people I care for, or I rarely see. In two cases, the recipients of my calls have said to me “You made my day with your call”. If that is not motivation to reach out, I don’t know what is.

We need to teach our kids verbal skills! It is ridiculous what the lack of human touch or conversation has done. So that I guess is one of the things I am working on.

Once I read or heard a line that said “When you are gone, what will people remember of you? That did they learn form you?”  How true that is. Now that both my parents are gone, the most valuable things I have kept and cherish everyday are the lessons they taught me, the advice, their laughter, their discipline and most of all, their affection.

How important it is to show people how we feel while they are alive. Giving a compliment has turned into something less common nowadays. I guess we are all too busy to notice the good?

My Dad still has 3 brothers and 2 sisters that live today and I have enjoyed their company during this Christmas break, I feel a little bit of my Dad through them.  I intend to be in touch with them as well.

Being close to family is something my kids observe, learn from and get used to.  If not teaching by example, then how?  There are things in life that no book or classroom will ever deliver.  Last night my daughter was praying and she said “Jesus, help me be my brother’s best friend one day”. They are fighting a lot lately, mostly due to their age, but deep down they love each other and to hear this prayer come out of her mouth really moved me.

2016 and 2017 will be always years that I won’t forget. They hit me hard but they also made me stronger and showed me that I don’t crumble so easy , which is great news J.


2018…  I intend to  blog more often!  That too.