Posts Tagged ‘Balboa Park’

All In The Family

May 31, 2015

I turned around, his small body pressed to me.

“Chip,” he said soft, with a slight lisp, he smiled, “chip,” he whispered again.

Oh squeeze my heart little cousin.

I hopped a tortilla chip off the platter to his waiting mouth.

He took a bite, then held out his hand for the chip and went back to his favorite uncle on the couch.

Who proceeded to feed him a bite of cake.

Family.

Grandma.

Auntie.

Uncle.

Three boy cousins and their wives (what are the wives of first cousins called?).

And then the grand babies.

Which would be my second cousins–three more boys.

Me.

Food.

Oh my goodness so much food.

Grandma homemade food.

I just about fell over.

Roast pork and chicken and potatoes and salad and the most amazing paella I have ever, ever, ever had.

I wasn’t able to eat the Hawaiian pineapple cake and some other things but getting to watch everyone eat and talk and cozy against each other, cousins and second cousins running in and out the patio screen door, was such a gift.

I got to hold a four-month old second cousin in my lap and look in his wide brown eyes and see the genetic markers of the family passing themselves merrily right along.

A part of.

Once again with my family.

My aunt hugged me as she headed out the door, “don’t be a stranger.”

I won’t.

I don’t know when I will come back down to Chula Vista, but I will again.

And I can see myself making the trip up to my Uncle’s in Nevada City for a holiday, perhaps Thanksgiving?

Make some more memories.

Have some more connections.

See more things.

My Uncle and my cousin, his youngest son and wife, took me out to Balboa Park today in San Diego this morning and we spent the morning into the early parts of the afternoon wandering around the grounds.

We went to the Historical Museum and saw the Dr. Seuss exhibit, which was truly amazing and also wonderful and silly and made me laugh out loud.

My second cousin, his dad, and my Uncle sat down a Dr. Seuss designed table and cut and colored Cat in the Hat paper hats, cut them out and then wore them around the exhibit.

I laughed so hard I thought I might pee my pants.

While they were working on hats I discovered a color in your own Dr. Seuss character postcard table and I sat down and colored up three of them right away, one for my mom, one for the boys I work with and one for my cousin and his family–they were such wonderful hosts, every one really–which I plan on sending as a thank you card.

I didn’t actually get myself any postcards from the museum.

I was having too much fun hanging out in the museum to color more.

I scooped up the three I colored on and galavanted about the rest of the Historical Museum, snapping photos wherever I could.

Then off to Rose Garden where I was happy to discover roses that actually smelled like roses, and a walk through the Japanese Tea Garden to quietly walk through the paths and marvel at the giant coi fish in the ponds.

Prior to the museum we also went through the Botanical Gardens, wandered through the Spreckels Organ pavilion and checked out the fountain in the front.

It was a lovely meander.

The sun burned through the fog and they day grew warm.

We headed to a late lunch, had sushi, ran a few errands for my grandma and then back to the house for dinner and all the folks.

Sitting here, the dishes washed, the lights being dimmed, my uncle having one last piece of cake, my gram getting ready for bed and I am filled with a kind of gratitude I find hard to express, but it is there, full, golden, sun soaked and happy.

Quiet.

Seeing photographs of my father as a boy.

My grandmother showing me his Boy Scout uniform from when they lived in Oakland, my eyes welled and my heart grew three sizes bigger.

Then she pulled out a package from my sister.

It was a strange, but so sweet, assortment of crochet items that she sent my grandma in 1986, she would have been eleven or twelve.

I gasped when I saw the postmark on the box, Windsor Wisconsin.

“I save it, I thought it was so sweet,” my grand mother said, “I don’t know what they are exactly, but you could see she was just learning and I had to keep it.”

I told her about my afghan, the one she had crocheted for me when I lived in the House in Windsor and had shared that I was in the coldest room in the house, the one directly beneath the attic and it was like living in Siberia, so she crocheted me a red and white and pink afghan.

I had lost it.

Not lost it as in lost it, but it had been destroyed in a flood in Madison.

It was in the same stack of boxes my ex had bought down in the basement when we lived on Mifflin Street the year it flooded our basement.

I also lost all my Christmas ornaments.

My ex had tossed everything out.

I was so hurt when I discovered that.

“I’ll make you another!” My grandmother told me, “just tell me what colors you want.”

My eyes welled.

It’s been a wonderful trip.

An amazing gift of reconnection and discovery.

Listening to the squabbles and talks and the hugs and the kisses and hearing all the stories between uncles and aunt and cousins and wives.

I had just a kiss of regret watching the easy give and take of love, I wished for a partner to share it all with, someone I could lean into and hug and kiss on too.

I know that will come.

Things like that happen when you are happy and secure and surrounded by family.

It just happens.

Like love.

Blooming.

An unending flowering of love.

Family.

My family.

It’s Time To Check In!

May 28, 2015

The e-mail cheerily declared when I opened it this afternoon at work while on my lunch break.

Already?

Wait, a minute.

I’m not ready.

But I am.

I am ready.

I am ready to see my family and declare myself a part of.

It is scary, what are they going to think of my hot pink hair and glitter?

And it is exhilarating.

Maybe I will get a straight answer as to how my last name is with an “s” rather than a “z.”

I know the story of it, but I realized, my parents are unreliable narrators.

So too, am I.

I was reflecting on what I write here and what I say, and don’t say, and how this is my voice, but it is also a “voice” I am actually, if you can believe it, quite shy and retiring.

“I knew it was you as soon as I saw you and you hid in your hair, just like I do when I am nervous,” said my cousin, oldest daughter of my favorite uncle when I first met her.

I met her about eleven and a half, perhaps 12 years ago.

I have met a couple of my cousins on my father’s side, and I know my favorite Uncle, who was ridiculous and cute on the phone with me earlier today when I called to check in regarding my flight itinerary.

“You know what we’re doing Friday morning?” He asked me.

“Ah, nope,” I smiled, but I could hear adventure in his voice.

“We’re going to watch that movie, you know the one,” my uncle said with no question in his voice what he was talking about at all.

Mad Max.

“We’re going to see Mad Max!” I almost jumped up and down like a little kid, “yay!  I haven’t seen it yet.”

“It’s totally Burning Man from what I hear,” I said.

“Completely!” My uncle agreed, “I was going to go to that theater that all the Gate and Perimeter people rented in Oakland to see the movie, but well, it was in Oakland.”

My uncle goes to Burning Man.

And right there.

I assuage my feelings.

My little girl, I’m not enough feelings.

My uncle will be there and we will talk about Burning Man and I am ok and this is family.

And we will know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.

I realized, I will know how to handle myself when I show up.

It’s not that I am some sort of heathen, I have manners, I know how to be a good guest, and I am really interested in finding out more about my family history.

I want to know all about Hawaii and my ancestry there, which I know little to nothing about.

Odd fragments that my mom told me, a memory of a book of poems and essays that my father once sent me that had a picture of the first truck on the islands, supposedly my great, great, grandfather’s vehicle?

I don’t know.

But I want to know.

I am also grateful that I am getting to go but not make a big fuss over it.

I am not trying to pack being a tourist into it.

Oh, there’s some touristy things happening, my cousin is going to take me to the Balboa Park area and we’re going to go wander around the museums.

I am just a whore for museums.

Art really.

And museum gift shops.

I told the boys today that I would miss them, and I will, despite today being a trying day with them, I swear someone slipped them sugar when I wasn’t looking.

They were off the wall with energy.

I also told them I would send them a postcard.

And I will.

I will also send myself a postcard, a small, happy reminder that usually ends up getting back to me a week or so after I have returned from a trip.

I have postcards from Paris, London, San Francisco, Venice Beach, Rome, New York, Black Rock City, Anchorage, and they are scattered all over my fridge along with magnets from the various museums I have visited while in the city.

It’s a really sweet way to remind myself of the journey.

“Are you all packed?” My ride to the airport tomorrow checked in with me as we were walking up the hill toward the Sunset Youth Services this evening.

“Close,” I said, stretching the truth mightily.

However.

I pack fast and I am getting up at my regular time tomorrow morning so that I can write and get right with God before going on my little sojourn.

I’m gone for three and a half days, I won’t need much.

I pulled my suitcase out of the closet before I left and threw some laundry in the wash so that I will have all the clothing options I want.

I marveled, I still am, actually.

At the size of my roll on suitcase.

It is the same one I took with me to Paris and lived out of for six months.

Six months.

Out of that one small bag.

And what I could fit in my messenger bag.

I am not going to bring that however, just my purse and my laptop and a notebook.

And sandals.

Fingers crossed the weather will be sunnier than it’s been here.

I was looking at my phone’s weather app earlier and wondered what in the world the forecast icon was, it looked like rain, but it was not rain.

It was an icon for fog.

I realized as I was rolling home though the Pan Handle, the forecast was for fog.

I was drenched when I got home.

It might as well have been rain.

And the forecast is looking like that for the next few days.

It’s not super warm in San Diego, but it sure looks sunnier and I will happily take low 70s versus mid to high 50s for temperatures.

I may even pack a pair of sandals.

I’ll be ready.

The dryer is almost done.

The blog is almost writ.

The feelings are still there, a pinch of anxiety, a bit of excited nervousness.

And a lot of joy.

I get to go do this.

I get to amend my ways and show up and be the grand-daughter my grandmother deserves to have in her life.

I get to be a grand-daughter, a niece, a cousin, a part of.

I get to go be with family.

I’m pretty sure they will accept me.

Pink hair and all.


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