Cafe Hitch-hike


The holidays for our generation

Deebo, Drew, Julio and I watched a collection of Christmas clips mixed by Drew's dad Uncle Zeke. It had clips from 1990 and 1993. D&D were both 8 and 11 years old while I was 17 and 20. It was a blast to the past with seeing Grandma Lina and Aunt Roxie when they were alive, and when Drew's family was still together...

..and in the back of my mind lurked the very real fact that we were at Ground Zero of when Uncle Z's quirks turned into very bad behaviors. 1993 was the very last almost-normal holiday we had before the behaviors crossed the line into legal problems that became yet another bomb that went off in the family. The following Christmas was acrimonious, to say the least with those who thought Z's actions were not cool at all and those who preferred to look the other way or deny them. There was a near-impossible neutral ground to stand on and the conversations were intense with Grandma Lina having the most pointed opinion (Zeke was one of her favorite sons so she defended him).

I remembered having one of the biggest cries in my life soon before that. I explained what happened to a beau who visited me while I was away at college. My heart was so broken, and would break even further to see its reach and how badly it reconfigured my family.

I said not a word. I was so glad D&D were probably engrossed in seeing themselves when they were boys and seeing the river valley hometown for very green and white winters alike.

The guys decided to leave a day early because they got 4 days off for the holidays and decided to spend a day and a half relaxing at home, in their farmhouse/ man cave before heading to work on Monday. Deebo wanted me to take them to Miami tomorrow which I was going to do, but the covid risk and much also changed his mind. He really wanted to see its nightlife but everything closed at midnight.

I took the guys to the Everglades where we tailgated for a bit and hiked on a berm (dike) in the dark. The weather was all over the place and the park cleared out in the rain. It cleared up after 15 minutes and then we saw Jupiter and Saturn in the clear, early evening sky. We then went into my community pool and jacuzzi on Christmas eve and even the much chillier Christmas Day since the pool was heated. I didn't go in on the cooler day but laughed and comfortably relaxed.

Wow... it took effort to keep up with the guys! They acknowledged they live on caffeine and cigarettes (hahahah) and that it wasn't completely natural. I was definitely feeling my age. We spent Christmas day on the beach where we tossed around a football and relaxed on my serape' (my colorful, multipurpose Mexican blanket).

I felt much more relaxed with this visit though I was surprised they wanted to leave a day early. Now that I think of it, I made similar decisions under similar circumstances, and didn't realize my bro wanted to see the nightlife than do a day trip I tried to be as accommodating as I could and they were very respectful. On one hand, I don't want to be a stick in the mud with my house, while at the same time I didn't want it to look like a sports bar at the end of a game day. But, I enjoyed my time with them and was glad I could offer what we were able to do.

I guess after having family, multi-day gatherings that included friends of the family and the occasional hanger-ons, we decided to limit friend/ tagalongs ecause they usually caused drama or popped in uninvited (and mooched). A friend of the family and her daughter near D&D wanted to come, but they asked her not to because she had been traveling and wanted her to stay away for 10 days. I really wouldn't had had much space for them anyway.

I also noticed a much different dynamic with friends in the mix, but my siblings came to this conclusion on their own. When D&D told me their limit (also agreed upon by our sis Beads), I breathed a sigh of relief. This issue wasn't new; apparently, Beads had some issues with not-family after her daughter died and this made her think much differently about who deserved her confidence and who to include for certain things. I guess we have things designated as family-only and open.

I couldn't sleep after the dog and I had to tingle, and I can hear the guys snoring. Drew got the spare room because he snores the loudest and we needed the wall buffers. Before I turned in, it cracked me up when everyone settled down for the night at the TV that Julio plopped on the air mattress on the floor and looked completely chill. Here we had 4 grownups all over the place with plenty of space to sprawl. It was kind of a funny sight! So the layout was more flexible than I thought!!

It will soon be 6 am and I don't think I'll attempt to go back to sleep. They guys will probably have breakfast and then head back to the west coast (of Florida, that is), and then I can decide to relax or clean up a bit.

But... this was the first Christmas I think I hosted with humans in my house. I didn't go elsewhere this time. Hmm... I'll have to think about what this like! So far, so good.

I had to remind myself to just be and not try to orchestrate everything. Be in the moment and don't spend too much energy on being a hostess but more on being a sister and cousin. I'm pretty much the eldest kid and female in my generation, and that gives a different take on what I was able to offer. My mentor encouraged me to open myself up a bit so my family, and Deebo and I have been able to host our own celebrations of the past and new ones for the now. We have homes and some stability despite all else that's happening, so maybe we are attempting to build our own versions of the holidays. Yes, we can.

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