Wedding Photos

Wedding Photos

Monday, September 19, 2011

51 First cousins..

My side of the family is the traditional large numbered one. (Traditional for the generation prior to mine)  My mother is one of 14 siblings (including half siblings) and my father was one of 8 (also including half siblings).  My husband’s side of the family is considerably smaller in comparison.  He has only two aunts to my 22 aunts and uncles so when I talk about my cousin “such and such” his eyes quickly turn glossy.  It isn’t that he doesn’t care; it’s that he has only met a hand full of them and it isn’t easy to remember the rest he has only heard mentioned by name. 

Last I counted I had fifty one FIRST COUSINS; it may be more and being that both my parents were of the oldest in their families, my youngest uncles (on both sides) are only four years older than me and could still add to the count at any moment.

When we were planning our wedding it was easy for my husband to come up with his half of the guest list.  He invited every member of his family and still had room to invite friends.  I on the other hand had to deal with not being able to invite everyone I wished could join us and what was worst, had to argue with my mother over my decisions.   

It’s been over a year since our wedding and I am still dealing with the aftermath of not inviting all of the family.  I did have to give in with mom and invite at least all her siblings living here in Texas (thank goodness it’s only five), but my first visit to family up north (the Chicago area) was more than awkward. I encountered comments that let me know the non-invited felt snubbed and wouldn’t soon forget.

My husband doesn’t quite understand the concept of having a large extended family.  He doesn’t understand that aside from my parent’s brothers and sisters, their first cousins are also numerous and considered no different than their own siblings.  So when I say “my cousin” I could be referring to either a child of my parent’s siblings OR child of my parent’s first cousins. Needless to say my family tree has a lot of branches..

In the few years my honey and I have been together we have been unable to attend the usual extended family gatherings, like traditional QuinceaƱeras (equivalent to sweet sixteen party but celebrated at age 15) or weddings.  The latest we missed was across the border, and with the chaos going on in border towns these days at least this time we were “excused”.  The others, well..  My family has a tendency to give short notice or to send all invitations to my mother’s address were they never get mentioned because they end up being buried under junk mail and my mom forgets they arrived.

Now I know these descriptions of a Mexican family could be the typical stereo type, but I want to give my reason to value my large extended family.  However seldom or often I get to see them now that I am older I like to make the effort to join in family celebrations.  You see, my maternal Grandmother was an orphan.  Her parents both died within months of each other and she and her siblings (8 brothers and sisters) sadly ended up scattered taken in by family members, boarding schools on scholarships, apprenticeships or orphanages. Thanks to the oldest of them (Great aunt Margarita) they were never lost (track of each other) and the youngest even ended up taken in by her once she was married.  That love for family, of not thinking just about the self but of those connected to us by blood has been taught to the next generation of children and grandchildren.

Those teachings of love, survival and belonging: knowing that they could have easily disappeared (lost track) in such tragedy is what makes me not want to miss the next family gathering we are invited to, because that is a happy occasion.  These last couple of years we have lost four of my grandmother’s siblings and their absence is deeply felt.  Funerals are not where I want to see my cousins. It is not where I want to introduce my husband to the extended family.

My honey I am sure will continue to tease me a bit about my large family (“which cousin is that?”) but he is now part of it!

In memory of those who left but who will remain in my heart (Joe, Angela, Margarita, Soledad) I celebrate my family and the bond they showed us all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Metro Man vs.Regular Joe

At forty something I have been long fighting the good fight against aging.  There is a grooming ritual that most women follow but few of the opposite sex take on.  Those few who do are popularly known as Metro-sexual or what I preffer to call Metro-Men.(I kind of expect a cape to go along with the term)

My husband isn't one of them.  Nope, he is a "regular Joe".  I drive him absolutely insane fussing after him about his appearance.  I pick lint off his clothes: had to introduce him to adhesive rollers and he in return had to teach me boundaries. I now TRY to point things out instead of just reaching for them.  He has compared me to a chimp grooming a mate.  I confess to have a bit of a dysfunction there.  We were once afraid I would get us in to trouble during a wedding.  One of the guest at the church had a thread on her dress and we debated back and forward over me pulling it off.  It drove me nuts and he could barely keep from holding me back and laughing out loud!

I can't help it, I am a groomer! Between hair cuts I try to clean up the back of my honey's neck with the clippers: usually at the least fortunate times, like when he is showered and shaved about to get dressed and there are 15 minutes before we have to hit the door.  I also point out the occasional stray hair and offer grooming equipment as well as assistance (not taking matters in to my own hands has been a big development for me). I am honest when I tell him I expect him to do the same for me.  If some mutant something appears on me, I prefer he (my husband) point it out rather than a stranger!

The Metro-Men who I've known are very much in to brand names, following trends and doing everything under the sun to stay young (looking).  I see them and I get exhausted by the lengths of their actions..  --  Wait a minute.  Women do JUST THE SAME THING!!  I am sorry, but someone needs to keep the other mate from going off the deep end.  I am  glad I have my "regular Joe" to keep me from overdoing something to myself: two people on that same page could overdo it. My biggest fear is that my vanity will get the best of me someday, so I focus on looking "natural".  No tattooed eyeliner or lip liner for me. No stiff face Botox or pretending I would look good blond!

Metro-Men exercise to look good or stay looking young.  My "regular Joe" exercises/runs and signs up for a half marathon (this year a full marathon) to prove to himself he can do it! The staying/keeping in shape is just a bonus. My dad was a Metro-Man long before the term was conceived.  He ran miles and miles to keep fit and after running: would drink glasses with hot water and lemon to melt the fat and cleanse the body. He had tons of shoes and belts and wore always the latest trends. (Think of Richard Gere in American Gigalo)

My mom still remembers her embarrassment of him showing up to pick her up at school wearing hip hugging, bell bottom jeans months before the fashion hit in Mexico!  She also remembers him encouraging her to try the latest hairdo.  Those were different times for my folks.  They had the means to splurge on fashion and my mom has the pride to know she was one of the few to first sport a donut-shaped perm a la Donna Summer in the seventies, again long before the fashion hit Mexico.

I am glad I married a "regular Joe".  He notices me (not the latest fashion) and pays me compliments; usually when I am walking around the house in one of his t-shirts.  Despite the relief of not having the pressure from him to look a certain way  I do continue to keep myself "together" as best as possible, but he gets no rest from me. I have pleaded, bitched and moaned until he agreed to at least "humor me" and try using a cleanser in the shower for his face instead of the usual bar of soap.  He won't admit to liking it, but his skin looks healthier and little dry patches have completely vanished.  I nagged him about it NOT so much because I want him to look better, but because most men don't usually do simple changes to their routine and have their skin feel better.  It isn't MANLY to careSoap is good enough!  Blahh, blahh, blahh.  Only someone who loves these "regular Joes" will stir them in that direction, search and provide the products so they don't feel "high maintenance".

Anyways, my husband smirks at my at home chemical peals, but I tell him I want to keep him from walking with an old hag next to him and use that to guilt him in to doing a few other things for me.  Oh, don't think I ask him to jump on my bandwagon of beauty rituals.  He would never go for that and I think I would loose respect for him if he gave in to that one.  What I ask him to do is to at least put on a shirt with a collar when going out with me.  I love the casual look, but at forty-something a man shouldn't dress like a teenager in graphic t-shirts other than to hang around the house. And in my opinion NO ONE should step out of the house in wrinkled clothes!! Hey, if I take the trouble to fix my hair and put on makeup before stepping out of the house I expect my mate to make a similar effort and not look like he just rolled out of bed.

Moving on, Metro-Men get manicures and have hair stylists.  My husband doesn't believe in overspending on a haircut!  For our wedding I begged and pleaded he get a good cut from my hair stylist.  I think if he had known before hand the cost of the cut he would have skipped the appointment.  That's another thing, my regular Joe doesn't make hair appointments.  He drives by "the place" (there are a few of them) when he has time and if there aren't too many cars he'll stop for a cut. Anyways, he got a good cut for the wedding, unfortunately he didn't quite comb/style it like the cut was intended but the fact that he gave in on the haircut because it was to look good on our wedding day is still appreciated.

When my husband and I met he didn't look unkempt.  I wouldn't have dated him if he did!  He looked like he made an effort, but later confessed he had some of his gal pals help him out when he started dating after marriage #1. I've had to negotiate with him ever since we moved in together and you know what? I think back at the men I dated before him; the few that had to be introduced to some type of fashion/self care who moved on as better dating material to other women.  I had thought that in my age range the man who I would find would now have been accustomed/molded by other women already saving me a bit of the nagging.  I guess my husband never got accustomed before or diverted to old habits.  I am glad he makes the effort for me and I truly do not bug him too much about what he is wearing when he isn't going to be seen with me (smirk).  If he is for example gaming with the guys.. Well, gaming doesn't require the latest fashion.  That is the place where he gets to sport his latest geeky t-shirts, that I of course have surprised him with because I find it amusing and know it makes him happy.

So despite some admiration for Metro-Men with their "together" look, and not one hair unintentionally out of place, I am glad I married my "regular Joe".  I feel more feminine around him and his occasional giving in to my craziness shows that he at least cares how he looks to me.  Now I must excuse myself because I want to see if Netflix has "The Cannonball Run (1981)" to stream.  I have been thinking of Dom DeLuise's alter ego "Captain Chaos" the entire time I have been writing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Instant family..

One of the common things about marring at an older age (be it a first, second or third marriage) is acquiring what I call an “instant family”.  There are step kids and extended family that may find it awkward at first to give the new member of the family their place. 

For my husband and I it was much easier.  Neither one had children who might find it hard to name us (step-this or that).  Luckily even our immediate families were “young” (newly married or with one child).

On my side of the family I didn’t’ get to interact much with my brother’s son when he was little (he is now almost 10); if I wasn’t a cartoon or on the boob tube I wasn’t paid attention to.  When my nephew got a little older and began to pay attention, he assumed my honey (who he saw me with always) was already my husband and at one point asked him so.  I was mortified at first hoping my honey did not think I had put the kid up to it (we had been dating several months) but thankfully he understood my nephew’s innocent assumption. So with our marriage my husband gained a nephew.  One who is now taller than me and who half hugs, half tackles my honey when he greets him.

On my husband’s side of the family his brother had a baby girl that barely spoke when my honey and I started dating.  Adorable and sweet; I couldn’t help falling in love with her.  At first she was shy.  Her parents tried to teach her my name and she couldn’t quite figure it out.  I suggested she call me by the nickname my best friend’s son gave me when he could barely speak.  That did it! Somehow being able to call me by a name she could pronounce allowed her to warm up to me.   As far as our niece is concerned I have always been “aunt Momo” and now she has a little sister (our 6 month old niece) who I can’t wait until she can recognize us and of course, call me “Momo” also.

What has been more difficult for me isn’t the being accepted in my husband’s family, it is being recognized!  I am wife #2 and after four years together (almost two of those years married) I still sometimes get called by wife #1’s name.  Granted it is by extended family that we see maybe once a year and I guess it doesn’t help that my husband married the same “type”:  Latina, short, curvy and also with eye glasses.  Anyways, it is to be expected; at our age most “newlyweds” are at least on their second marriage so expecting not to be confused may be too much to ask.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Specific instructions..

I have leaned at a later age what married women have had to learn long before me.  When it comes to asking my husband to do a chore I must be specific and detailed!!  Here is an example:  On the days we change bed sheets I leaned not to simply ask my husband to strip the bed.  To the female mind "strip the bed" means change the sheets as well!  So now I not only ask but define exactly what I mean.  My husband is now faced with no doubts of what it is being asked of him.  Strip the bed has now become; "Honey, please strip the bed, throw the dirty sheets in the washer and put on new sheets".  There is no confusion, but lots of moaning and groaning. 

Another task that had to be modified in the way it is asked is "take out what's in the dryer".  After countless times of multiple loads of clothes crammed in ONE BASKET that would sit in a corner for a couple of days wrinkled beyond hope;  I had to change my ways!  I now ask: "Honey please take out what's in the dryer, hang or fold AND also put away".  The usual moans and groans follow, but this particular task is countered by saying.. "I do exactly ALL those steps when I take care of that chore!"  I also remind him about one of my girlfriends refusing to do her husband's laundry (from then on) in retaliation of his lack of participation in that household chore.

The last ever so popular task that had to be modified was "take out the trash".  When asked my husband was glad to take out the trash in the kitchen, but never ONCE thought of the other trash in the house.  The bedrooms and bathrooms were completely ignored!  Now, I am not a total slave driver.  This particular task I am more than accommodating to him.  Most times before I even ask for the trash to be taken out I go around the house pulling trash bags and replacing them on all the trash containers.  I collect them in or by the kitchen trash before I open my mouth. I know my husband hates going around each individual trashcan, so I am willing to meet him half way to get the chore done.

I have mentioned before, we do not have assigned chores at home so I never ask of my husband what I don't already do myself.  When it comes to house chores women are like chess players; looking for a 3rd and 4th move ahead.   Men, well.. at least my husband.  He only focuses on one move/task at a time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

50th Anniversary

I have a coworker who is celebrating today her 50th wedding anniversary.  It is so very uncommon in the age of multiple divorces to witness two who have reached such a major milestone.

Divorce hangs over my head..  Two near and dear to me are going thru the motions right now and it frightens me to see how fragile relationships can be.  It took me a decade longer (from the average marrying age for women) to find my mate and I wonder if our odds will be better?

This is my husband's second marriage but I am hoping that my careful choosing of a mate and lack of rushing in to marriage (just because everyone else was getting married) will count towards a better chance of surviving.

Happy Anniversary Barbara & Elmer. May your years ahead be as memorable as your years behind!