Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

April 30, 2015

April 2015 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke — dave9169 @ 10:09 pm

April Highlights:

Luke’s Birthday

Luke’s birthday worked out perfectly this year as it landed on a Saturday. This meant we were able to take him to one of his favorite places, the Olive Garden, to celebrate his special day without feeling rushed. Because of that, I was also able to arrange for Luke to receive a special dessert that he had to look at while we and the wait staff sang happy birthday to him. He may have been a little embarrassed, but mostly I think he enjoyed it and was genuinely surprised by the impromptu celebration.


April 28, 2015

The Old Country

Filed under: Poems — dave9169 @ 9:39 pm

It is my father who taught me this language,
introduced me to this place,
and instilled in me this habit
of getting on a plane and visiting
the old country

I return for…

…the welcoming committee at the airport
the cousins, the uncles and especially the aunts
who jump up and down like teenage girls at a concert
and embrace you tightly
and don’t let you go until you’re covered in kisses

…the scenes of my childhood
eating pan amasado for breakfast
cramming into those standing room only busses
that took me to school in fifth grade
kicking the futbol across dirt fields
and into goals with no nets

…the weekend days of my adolescence
spent with my abuelo rodolfo at the estadio atletico
punching volleyballs into the sky
and hearing them thump off the red clay
slurping oyster shells for almuerzo
learning to turn snot into projectiles
one nostril blow at a time

…an evening at a sidewalk cafe
sipping drinks with rosa and her friends
before the riot police cleared the crowd
with those clinking gas cannisters that suddenly
settled and hissed around our feet
Running to the bathroom for relief
laughing while tears rolled down our faces

…the night i stayed awake till the morning
drinking cafe con leche with my favorite aunt
talking about my beautiful blue-eyed grandmother
who took us in when my father showed up
with us at her doorstep to start a new life
We reminisced on all the could have beens
had we been raised in the old country
instead of leaving after a year

It is okay though I remember telling her
when I sensed her voice weaken slightly
Without these continents to cross
we would not have these airport reunions
Without these gaps between visits
there would be no longing to know more
And without these special connections
nurtured through decades of loving repetition
there would be no real reason to
return to the old country.

April 17, 2015

Keep on Living

Filed under: Poems — dave9169 @ 9:36 pm

The lady at the pool talks about her neighbor:
he died yesterday,
just came back from the funeral,
it’s so sad.

But it’s life and you have to keep on living, she says.

Conversations like this are more frequent these days.
Sometimes it’s a Facebook post
in memory of someone you don’t know,
but your friend or a friend of a friend knows.
You read the string of condolences:
so sad,
rest in peace,
too young.

But it’s life and you have to keep on living.

The girl you talked to on the phone for hours in high school,
when teenagers still talked on the phone,
gone at 40 to cancer.
The sadness creeps into your soul
and you can’t stop thinking about it for days.

But it’s life and you have to keep on living.

Your parents lose two long time friends in one year.
Friends of yours too.
Life of the party guys who provided toasts at your wedding.
Immigrants who went north just like your parents
to start families and live out their dreams.
This one hits you harder.

But it’s life and you have to keep on living.

This perhaps is the toughest part of the age you’re in:
young enough to feel alive,
but old enough to be in touch with death
more intimately than you would like.
Neighbors, strangers, friends and family
who are no longer here,
natural or due to disease,
it doesn’t matter.
You miss them.
You think of your own parents.
You can’t go there.
why do we have to lose anyone?

But it’s life and you have to keep on living.

So my advice to you is this:
don’t linger too long on this topic.
Reach out to the ones you love instead
and let them know they mean the world to you.
If you are too shy or uncomfortable being direct,
listen, smile, hug and repeat.
Show up or acknowledge the events
that mean something to the special people in your life.
Laugh with them, eat with them, comfort them.
Stay connected, be present,
allow others to console or compliment you.
Yes, one day you will be the neighbor
being referred to by the lady at the pool,
or the subject of a sad post the friend
of a friend is scrolling through on Facebook.

But you are not there yet so keep on living.
When you do, you help everyone you touch live too.

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