Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Cuatro

Paul brought the chips and a 6 ounce container of guacamole, along with two friends. Bill and I were the first to arrive with tomatoes, cheese and lettuce. The Mexican flag was hand decorated by Dylan with red and green crayons and streamers of red flapped outside in the wind. I came into the house whispering like a teenager who's breaking a rule. We never celebrated Cinco de Mayo when I was growing up because of my French great grandmother. Hannah arrived with James, a long lost boyfriend who broke her heart two years ago, and an awkward smile. Every room in the house sparkled and the smell of beans and rice waifted through the air. Julie and Matt had done such a good job getting all the siblings over and opening their home for us. We laughed because it was "cinco de cuatro", so no big deal. Charlie and Aaron were the last to arrive, bringing some sort of bean dip with black olives and sour cream, prepared by their good chef, Mr. Hen House.

We were having such a good time and talking all at once and over each other and I thought about how silly it was for a french grandmother whom I've never met, to have such power over our "fiestas". That's about the time the lesson voiced itself. You know how they are, they hit you over the head like a surprise. I heard my married daughter say, "I can't remember much about my childhood, and the rest, I try to forget." Oh, the comments of a middle child can sting like a wasp! If I had been a balloon, I would have popped.

My choice was to either become resentful like my french grandmother, or see the situation through love. I needed to digest the moment first so after we came home, I reached for a book and randomly picked, "The Leap" by Constance Kellough. A big piece of heavy paper fell on the floor and when I picked it up, I screamed because when I turned it over, it was a picture of my french grandmother. Spooky that it would show up then! When I opened my book, it was page 126 and the words I read were, "forgiveness is the act of releasing our dammed-up love and letting it flow. It becomes available for giving."

The lesson? It's all love.


  1. That is one of the most interesting takes on Cinco de Mayo/Cuatro I've ever read...because of your French great grandmother in your Mexican family, plus the family aspect. Most of us in the U.S. just look at Cinco de Mayo as a time to indulge even more in Mexican food and drink, gringo-style. We don't even think of the origins of the holiday. It's like the Japanese celebrating's all surface, no depth.

  2. I like celebrating holidays American style without purpose and another excuse to eat. WOO HOO!! If Cinco de 5 was on a Sunday it would have been Cinco de Mayo w/ cheese.
    --Mr Hen House--

    ps.. you should allow anonymous comments.

  3. Dear Mr. Hen House,
    I would suggest you brush up on your Spanish!! If it was on Sunday, we'd call it Mayo Domingo. Next time you're bringing the chiles rejenos, homemade.