Thursday, July 31, 2008

Business First, aka Familia

Disneylaaaaand...Okay, not quite yet. First things first. I know, that was our kiddos reaction too. It was so hard being right there and not going...yet. See, the main (we'll just say that) reason we went to California was that every year my hubby's father's side of the family has a family reunion. A huge family reunion. It's a big dealie. There's a theme to it every year (it was a Western theme this time), Bingo, raffles, music, an inflatable jumpy thing and arts and crafts for the kiddos, a generous amount of Corona and BBQ-ed pulled pork and carne asada. We'll just say, very good food. A lot of very good food. It is a rule that you must go back for seconds. At least. If you don't you will hear many bad words in Spanish and mucho finger pointing. In Spanish. So yes...get more corn-on-the-cob and nachos, lady.

Being that we've been living on the other side of the country for the last 11 years, we haven't actually been to one of these reunions in a long time. Our oldest daughter was about 1- 1/2 the last time we went. So about 6 reunions ago. So we were really looking forward to going so that our girls could "meet the family". Let me give you a little idea of what "meet the family" father-in-law has 5 sisters. And his parents had like five siblings each as well. So yeah, big familia. Big Hispanic familia. Or as my father-in-law puts it, "Methican" familia. He can say that, cuz he is Mexican.

And with big families, come drama. I was fully expecting drama. Last time we went, 6 years ago, it was a little rough. Hubby and I were basically "on the line" as to whether we could sit at the "kid's" table or graduate to the "grown-up" table. Which way do we go, which way do we go? By "kid's table" I mean, the tween to teen age crowd. And by "grown-up" table I mean all his aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles. There was quite the leap between age groups. He had one cousin that was married that we latched on to, but they were in the same predicament as we were. So we all kind of gravitated towards the "younger" crowd. Yeah, no so great. They were the "younger", basically po'd at life crowd. The "I wouldn't smile if you paid me" crowd. It was rough. I have a memory I have yet to block out of me going around taking random pics of the family and I get to the "young" crowd and all the pictures they are looking like they are one second from taking me down. The look of death. So yeah. That went well. Hubby and I basically stuck to the Bingo table and focused on our toddler (praying right then and there that our daughter would not master the dagger look when she is a teenager--we were frightened).

This time around, I had an entire conversation planned for one of the teenagers (one of hubby's cousins). Since the last reunion, she had gotten married and hubby had actually visited with her and her hubby on a business trip recently. She could officially sit at the "grown up" table if she wanted to now. So I was really gonna try to reach out and get to know her better. She is a tattoo artist. I was gonna see if she could give me a tattoo. I have a little rose tattoo on my ankle (this story is for another post) and I've been thinking about getting another. So I had this whole conversation planned with her to sort of get me "in". I was gonna tell her I was thinking about getting a bikini-line tattoo, which would be very shocking to her (I imagined), cuz she would never imagine me asking for such a thing. So she would instantly like me. And we would become bff and I'd have a really cool bikini-line tattoo for a bikini that I would never wear again. Cuz I haven't had a bikini in like um...15 years.

Anyway...Break Time...go ahead. I'll wait...

Okay, so the whole bikini-line tattoo was totally gonna be a joke. Like once I drew her in and saw the shocked look on her face, followed by the, "She is so dang cool...I had no idea..." look she would give me...I would say, "Juuuuust Kidding....What I really want is a life-size ladybug tattoo on my big toe. Can you do that?" Then she would be all, " sure you don't want it on your bikini-line? Cuz that would be so much more righteous, but instead of a ladybug can we do a dragon?" And I would be like, "Oh, um...nooooo, just the life-size ladybug on my big toe. That'll do it." And as disappointed as she would be (in me), she would do the ladybug on my big toe, but add like more legs and make it into a really scary spider (which would freak me out EVERY TIME I saw it), just because it would be against her religion to do a ladybug tattoo. I just know it. And that would be the end of that. She wasn't there anyway, and I guess it's a good thing, cuz I flipping hate spiders. But do you seeeeeee where my whole mind goes? You are totally impressed, aren't you? I am one deep Momma.

I'm not even going to go into the drama that is the "grown up" table. And I shouldn't even say drama. It's just what you are when you have a big family. Okay, a family. But seriously, someone should write a book. And that is all I have to say about that one. But this time around, things were better. No drama for the Momma. We had fun. It could very well be that we had fully graduated to the "grown up" table. Or that the majority of the "kid table" didn't attend this year. But it was fun. And that cousin of hubby's that was married, that we had kind of latched on to last time around, added two kids to their familia that were close in age to our girls. So we latched back on to them again and had lots and lots to talk about. Kids will do that for ya (and about 6 years of added life experience). Our kiddos were in little cousin Heaven. There were "little cousins" everywhere. Oh, and there were pinatas...two. We hardly knew we had kids for a couple of hours. And the tween/teenagers from the "kid" table last time that attended this time (you following me?), were all nice and smiley this time. Everyone was very huggy too. I love hugs. And the food was *awesome*! I did mention how important the food was, right? I became fast friends with the caterer and booked him for my birthday next year. And I won $75 dollars in a raffle, which came in very handy later, at dinner, contributing to the margarita/Cadillac fund.

Speaking of that margarita/Cadillac fund coming in handy. We went to dinner with my father-in-law's immediate family (all the sisters and their families) later that evening. It was at this amazing Mexican restaurant. Very good food (again with the food) and margaritas. It is here where I finally understood what a "Cadillac" is. It makes your margarita extra special. So we enjoyed our evening out. This family does know how to have a good time. We highly enjoyed our time together. And the margaritas.

But what I love about being with all the family is that we have a family to be with. It's so great to be surrounded with all these people that look like you. Or look like my hubby and my girls. This connection. Just looking around the table at everyone, you can see the relation, in looks, personality, the way they carry themselves, cross their legs, laugh, use their hands. Smile. I loved my own daughters' reactions. the realization that this was their family. That this was all theirs. Two of my favorite comments came from my oldest...she's 7. She looked around in awe and exclaimed, "They really are Spanish!" and happily exclaimed to her cousin, "We have the same last name?!!!" followed by the hand holding and jumping up and down in jubilation. Cuz that's what you should do.

Next time...Disneyland...I swear.

P.S. You are about to be overwhelmed with pictures. You've been warned. :)


Lex the mom said...

There really isn't anything like family - and it's best cause you can really, really just be yourself and everyone loves you no matter what.

So glad to hear all this & see all the pics! Looks like you had an AMAZING adventure!

Sunshine said...

Hey Lex! Yes...I would say were were SO ourselves with everyone! Ha ha...Maybe a little too much! Heh-heh! Kinda let it all hang out and such! ;D

But yes, we did have a great time! I want to go back! Can't I just go back? :)

Dee said...

I am glad you survived the family reunion, sounds like a great time, and I love the "same last name" comment and hand holding and jumping, that is sooo cute!

Food and alcohol feature big in your stories, dont they???? hmmmmm LOL

Liesl said...

How cool! I love that here in the US people do family reunions like that. I wish John's family would do that sometime - instead of only meeting his relatives at funerals - ugh!
I think I'll mail a letter to St. Louis saying "hey, we're coming over to get together, 'kay?" LOL
I do have a huge family, and I miss them a lot (even though I don't get along with everybody). It's good to be among them. Glad you guys have fun, I just loved the photos.

Sunshine said...

Dee--Hey baby! Now when you say, "alcohol", it just sounds bad. Let's just say wine. Or beer. Or margaritas. Mmmmk? Cuz that just sounds better, doesn't it? Right? You agree? You feel me? (wink wink)

((you will probably notice a huge shift in my story writing now...lots of water and exercise...HAHAHAHAHAH!...))

Sunshine said...

Renata--Ha ha...I love it too! We have an east coast version and a west coast version. And if I were to write about the east coast version of the family reunion, you wouldn't even recognize me. It's like night and day comparing the two. But still good. It's good to know where you come from, right?

Maybe YOU should start planning a reunion. You could make a caaaake...;D

Dee said...

ok,no more alcohol... lets just use an aussieism... grog. ;)