When I was planning our annual vacation I wanted to take my boys to Puerto Rico, the land where I was born and lived until I was 18. Then everyone down there scared me saying it was dangerous and stuff so instead we went to Disney World. Well I guess God wanted me to go down there regardless and for reasons I will not get into on this blog I had to make the trip. It was very hard to think I had to go with the boys and without the husband. I was scared and needless to say i had many mixed emotions. The idea of reliving my previous life for a week and a half with members of my new life seemed very strange to me and leaving the husband for that long seem very un-NATURAL. And yes, I have gone away before but only to Virginia which is a car drive away, not 5 hour flight over the Atlantic.
My mixed emotions made me all crabby the week before. I got this super bitchy attitude because, bottom-line, I really didn’t want to go. I told my mom and husband I didn’t want to go because I was scared of crime down there and because I was scared of seeing what my house had become. There are also other things I was scared of like seeing my aunt, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. I was scared of everything I would feel when I got off the plane. The last time I was there was in 2009 and my parents were still living there. They moved to Virginia 2 months after I was there then.
So here we go. There are other things I can’t explain in detail but my Puerto Rico visit turned out to be a very pleasant vacation. It was so nice and exciting to have my family meet my boys! Only my grandparents had met the older on… This was the first time anyone meet the baby… I definitely felt at home. I felt a sort of peace while I was down there, although my mom can tell you I was still pretty worried about the crime and stuff. I was paranoid about being on the road at 7pm driving from Ponce (south coast) to San Juan (north coast), mind you this is about an hour drive! I got to my grandparents house Tuesday night and it was nice, before i even took the suitcases out of the car my boy was already in the pool enjoying the water. Seeing my baby in that pool reminded me of when me and my siblings were little and went in that very same pool, we celebrated birthdays, holidays, and spent many Sunday afternoons just hanging out. Now it was all different. I live in New York, in an apartment that is not even close to the house I grew up in, I have two boys that are fully Americanized. And then as I woke up from my daydream of past memories, everyone was going to bed. And there I was in a room where I hadn’t slept in since I was a toddler, with my very own toddler hearing the Coquis serenade me to sleep. And yet the only thought in my mind at that very moment was “I can’t check my Facebook for 9 days!”.
Wednesday we drove south to meet the other side of the family. I was not ready to see this side. As soon as I got there it was amazing to see how my boys just mingled with everyone. People they had just met, in a place they had never been before. And the best part was when Gavin met my aunt who is sick. He gave her so much love it was incredible! He just hugged her and hugged her. And I had to be so strong. I have no idea how I did it. I just wanted to cry when I saw her. She is so strong and so brave. We were there for a couple of days and they met everyone. All my uncles and cousins and spent time with their great-grandparents! On Friday we drove back north and we meet other family members. Went to dinner and went to sleep. Saturday we saw my godmother and Sunday went to the beach! This was the best day! I always wanted my boys to go to the beach for the first time in Puerto Rico. There is nothing like the water surrounding that Island. At first it was a bit challenging. Gavin hated the hot sand. And the waves crashing wasn’t his thing, but after 10 minutes both of them were in the water like it was part of their DNA. They just enjoyed the sun, the water, the sand, the breeze, and the people. It was a great culture immersion for them. This was their mommy’s life before NY. This was mommy’s happy place. The beach. There is something about it. Calming.
The rest of my trip was about the same visiting family. Enjoying the heat. Except for my grandma filling up Gavin’s sippy cup with beach water (I had filled up a plastic water bottle with beach water so that I could clean his feet up!), and him drinking it like nothing, the trip was a success. The airport, not so much. I guess he really didn’t want to leave and threw the biggest tantrum I have ever seem. Boogers, scream, tears, rolling on the floor in the security line… horrible. After we passed security he was good.
I have no lesson from this trip, except one detail, never travel with two boys and no dad! My mom was amazing help but these kids really wanted their dad and they made it a point to let me know.
I didn’t see any friends on my trip which was sad but it wasn’t the purpose to begin with so I was ok with it. On the other hand stepping into what used to be my house made me very icky inside. I didn’t bring the boys with me because I didn’t want them to see me cry. Seeing the place where I grew up all empty and abandoned made me think of so many things. To be honest I still haven’t collected my thoughts around it. Anyways I know I write a lot of but I don’t like to edit because then I delete things and stuff and well I want this to be me. Talking to my best friend. So there. Puerto Rico was an awesome time. It was literally a week and a half of just family!