Family Ties…

I recently made my third trip to Florida this year. I don’t necessarily count trips to Florida as travels since I was born and raised there, but these trips and the nature of this post is different. The first trip was to see our grandmother, Mima, who had suffered a stroke. She was 98 years old and had lived a long, wonderful life. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s, and didn’t quite remember much, but I absolutely believe she knew we were there. Even through the sorrow, it was a blessing to see family during that time.

The second trip was because Mima passed away. Within 24 hours, my dear cousin, Rosanna also unexpectedly passed away. Both funerals and burials were held in one weekend.  While both deaths were devastating, my cousin’s was premature and difficult… life hardly ever pans out the way one expects it to.

Our days are all numbered, none of us to know the exact number.

One thing that I realized is that while I can’t quite know the count of my days, I can make my days count.

So, my third trip to Florida was to start making my days count.

Usually my family time is focused on my immediate family, my brothers, sisters in law, nieces, nephews and parents. This year, I was awakened to the need to focus some attention on my extended family. It’s a challenge since I live in Texas, and they’re all on the East coast, but every moment counts.

This trip was just because. Just because I wanted to spend time with cousins. I have many, many cousins, so there wasn’t enough time to touch base with all, but I did what I could.

The first night, my brother Gabriel, sister in law Carmen and cousin Persida went to our first soccer game: Orlando City Lions vs. Toronto. The Lions didn’t win, but I got the only goal recorded on Facebook live! We didn’t get to our seats until half time, but that was plenty enough for me… gooooooo Lions! After the game, we grabbed dessert and just talked and connected.

The next day, my sister in law and I drove down to Bonita Springs to visit our cousin Debbie and her hubby Abraham. The drive was insane, thanks to ACE rental car… I won’t bore you with details, but just know, I went through 5 different cars….so….just…don’t use them.

We spent the next day relaxing at the beach. We literally talked in the water for about 3 hours. We were so involved in the conversation that we forgot we didn’t put on sunscreen and all got a little burnt…img_7449

I realized that this was the most my cousin and I have ever really gotten to speak and get to know each other. We are so similar in so many ways and it was truly a much needed time. Time together with your people is good for the soul.

The next day we drove back to Orlando to Analise’s birthday party. She is the precious daughter of my cousin Kelly and Otto. There I spent time with not only cousins but my sister in law Jennifer and my nieces Sarah and Emily and the newest addition: Ethan, my great nephew. This guy is adorably amazing! We got to introduce him to magical bubbles.

For dinner, we spent the evening with Persida for her birthday at Texas de Brazil. The evening was filled with tons of food and laughs.

It was a simple, short trip. But it was good. It was meaningful. The extended family usually gets together in the big events, where you can only have cordial, polite conversations. It was nice to take the time to enjoy my cousins in a more intimate personal setting. It made me realize the need to do this more often.

Life gets busy. Life will steal your time. Life will steal your good intentions. I hope to plan to keep making time for family “just because.”

Unfortunately I expect myself to fail at that attempt at one time or another, because life happens…

I will certainly keep trying, it’s good for the soul.

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