Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Becoming abuelitos...

When I was in college, I spent a year drinking beer and going to clubs studying abroad in Chile. One day, a group of friends and I decided to go skiing; after all, the Andes were practically our backyard. Having never skied before, I did the logical thing and decided to skip the lesson; fly down the mountain at full speed forcing the other skiers to swiftly move out my way; and throw myself unto the ground in order to stop because I couldn't figure out how to hit the breaks. As I laid in the snow waiting for a kind soul to help me up (the skis were bigger than my body and I couldn't get up on my own), I thought to myself..."What the hell is a girl from Cuba trying to ski for? I am from the tropics, I have no business being on this damn mountain!" And on that day, I vowed to limit my interaction with nature to the beach.

For some reason, I had to have a near death experience to realize something the rest of my family had long ago figured out. We are all beach bums. Yet, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, loves the beach as much as Uli, my father. Put that man near some water with a cold beer and a towel, and he is in heaven. So, you can imagine his frustration and disappointment when Big E refused to go to the beach throughout my entire pregnancy because: "Our little girl can go into labor at any moment, we can't abandon her!" No, it didn't matter that I had a completely normal and uneventful pregnancy -- Big E was convinced that if she left the city, I would go into labor, even at 20 weeks gestation. When I suggested they go on vacation after the baby was born, she looked at me with disbelief and said, "What? And abandon my baby? Are you crazy??" Yea, that's right, she said "my baby".

And that is why things got a little bit complicated after Luki's birth. With wonderful intentions and Luki's best interest at heart, Big E and Uli overwhelmed Ton Ton and I with their interventions. They were a tremendous help during those first few weeks; but at times we just wanted our space, and the grandparents just would not leave. We had a talk with them about it, things were said, feelings got hurt, and the situation was tense for a little while.

So, you can imagine my surprise when Big E announced two weeks ago that she and Uli would be taking a last minute trip to the Dominican Republic in a few days. She didn't even ask if she could take Luki with her!

Ton Ton and I took a huge sigh or relief. They were starting to realize that, as grandparents, it isn't crucial for them to always be near the baby...Yay!

Off they went for an entire week at the beach -- my father was thrilled. I think Luki missed them a lot, especially the theatrical production they put on every time they're around him (it involves lots of singing, whistling, and talking in funny voices with fake accents). And, upon their return, they confessed that they too missed him terribly.

But, they realized that it could be done; they survived a week without Luki, and they are better grandparents for it.

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