7.10.2008

Independence Day Weekend, Part Two

I'll be taking two looks at this past holiday weekend. Part One will be a recap of the eventful runs of the weekend. Part Two will be meandering on subjects non-running related.
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Going home is always easy when home is Miami and a short drive away from the beach. But beyond the climatic comforts, there is the comfort of being home with family.

We spent most of Thursday at my grandparents house trying to learn how to make my grandmother’s frijoles, natilla, and flan. I have to say that it is the most fun that I’ve had with my grandparents ever. We were cooking (and eating) from 9am until 5pm and ended up making delicious home-cooked food for an army.

We sharing a bunch of stories. Wifey got to hear about the time when I was three years old and backed into the pool, the time in Madrid that I tried serrano ham (it has been a love affair ever since), and how I was mislabeled as a girl in the hospital when I was born. We got to tell them about our trapeze adventure, my failed attempts at making frijoles myself, and the horrible smoking habits of the people in our Greek neighborhood.

Mind you, both of my grandparents are old--in their early 80s--but man are they energetic. My grandmother spent all of Thursday on her feet in kitchen, grabbing pots, cleaning pans, climbing step ladders, moving stuff here and there. I--the 25 year old with the Marathon legs--sat more than she did that day. My grandfather, just a few months out of open heart surgery, was showing off his chest scar the same way a child shows off their knee scrape. He said how he gets his daily excercise walking around the warehouse of his business (yes, he still goes to work, everyday) and how he couldn't take being in bed for three days after the surgery.

It was wonderful to spend a day with my grandparents. They are full of wit and wisdom amassed from living long lives, facing hard challenges and wonderful triumphs. And they are infinitely generous with themselves: when wifey and I visit we are the only things that matters in the space of their world.

It always hurts to say goodbye to them because in the back of my head I always think "this could be the last time." And I don't want it to be the last time because I will feel robbed. Robbed of all the life lessons I have yet to have learned from them. Robbed of all the experience they have and are so willing to share. I have learned much from them already, but there are still many questions left floating in my head that I just haven't gotten to yet:

  • How do you get to The Louvre?
  • How do you leave everything you have and start over in a country where you don't even speak the language?
  • How do you raise a child?
  • How do you invest wisely?
  • How do you deal with a family you can no longer see or talk to?
  • How do you embrace change?
  • How do you live on a prayer?
  • How do you hold onto your heritage?
  • How do you remember?
  • How do you forget?
  • How do you cook a turkey on Thanksgiving?
  • How do you cook a pig for Noche Buena?
  • How do you start a business?
  • How does a marriage last for 10 years? 25 years? 50 years?
  • How do you forgive?
  • How do you age gracefully?
  • How do you not fear the future?
  • And on, and on, and on

8 comments:

chia said...

You just warmed my heart.

2 days after open-heart..

Gramps ripping off shirt: Check this shit out....

Brilliant.

They didn't fear the future, neither should we. Never fear to ask.

The Laminator said...

Your gramps sound very wise and energetic. Now I know where you get your strength and stamina for running all those half-marathons the way you do. I'm glad you had such a good experience visiting your folks in Miami.

Marcy said...

Awwhhh this was the sweetest post. My grandparents? God I hope my parents stick them in a retirement community locked up. I'm KIDDING!

CyclingDivas said...

"sniff sniff" *tear*

the natilla was great too!

ARod said...

Son, have you ever thought of taking up writng? You have an excellent way with words... As always, sooooo proud.

Jess said...

Those are excellent questions. But if they gave away the answers then they'd be cheating you out of the opportunity to learn them for yourself.

Ted said...

I was pondering after reading your post until I was reading the comment. Jess has made an excellent comment and I have to say that I agree with her.

Great post!

J said...

I am so glad you have such a good relationship with your grandparents! They sound really wonderful.