"The Importance Of Friends," and I mentioned how my lack of family caused me to adopt my friends as my family; I NEVER meant to slight the FAMILY that I married into. I'm sure that none of them took offense to my statement; but since I am The Queen of FAIRNESS and SENSITIVITY, I felt the need to justify that comment and explain that in no way, shape or form was it meant to downplay the importance of Mi Familia (my family.)
When I was growing up I was always envious of kids who came from big, extended families. Although my Mom's side of the family was sizeable; throughout the better part of my childhood, most of her siblings were estranged; so they did not present a cohesive family unit. My Mom was the youngest of 4 children and by the time I was 7; The oldest son lived in California, My Uncle Bubby, (and you know that's a story in and of itself;) lived a couple of towns away from us, and my mother's only sister, moved to Maryland. My Mom's parents lived in Co-op City, in the Bronx; which was only about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up; and then there was Richie Howell, who was an only child. As we all know Richie Howell's dad passed away at the age of 43, and Richie Howell was just 13. When I was about 5 years old, his Mom moved back to Germany.
My grandparents had 8 grandchildren, 3 girls ( 2 of whom lived in California) and 5 boys; and I was undeniably their favorite and everyone knew it. Now being the favorite, the only thing that I got more of (than the other grandkids) was love and affection but I think that's also because I was the only one who seemed interested in giving the same. I loved spending time with my Nana and Papa and somehow because the feeling was mutual; this made me undesirable to the rest of my "family." I can't begin to explain how sad and dysfunctional this family was; all I can say is I suppose it's no great loss not to be a part of it; and I guess that explains why I value my family so much.
After I lost my parents, people would try to comfort me by saying "One day you'll have a family of your own." I knew in my heart that this would be true, and I was fortunate enough to marry into a family where my husband is one of 6 children; and as I previously mentioned in "To Do..." his dad is the oldest of 13 and his mom is one of 10. I couldn't have asked for a bigger family; however, the irony is that I can count on one hand the number of relatives that speak English. Sadly as I also mentioned in "To DO," I don't speak fluent Spanish; so this does pose a bit of a glitch; but we make it work.
I am very blessed to have 5 brothers-in-law and 5 sisters-in-laws; and even with the language barriers, some how we all seem to understand each other. I'm the only American that has married into our immediate family; (and truth be told, Luis and I have been married longer than any of his other siblings.) Not surprisingly, I'm the only Jew in the bunch; but even with these factors, no one has EVER made me feel like an outsider. Everyone has always gone out of their way to make me and the kids feel welcome and comfortable; and it delights me no end to say that through Facebook; I've been able to be in more constant touch with my sister-in-law Maricela and my sister-in-law Karen; who I love dearly.
Within the past week I've come to find out that both Maricela and Karen have been reading and enjoying "The Bumpy Ride;" and this really touches me. I think it's a fabulous way for them to get to know me even better and get caught up on what goes on in my family's day to day life. Both Karen and Maricela speak English, so I find that I gravitate towards them when we're in Vallarta; even though I try to speak Spanish to them as well. Luis' 3 sisters don't speak any English, although my youngest sister-in-law, Erica does understand quite a bit.
For 26 years I longed for a family; and I am SO proud and happy to say that for the past 16 years I have been a member of La Familia Ramos and for me there is no better family.
Till next time...
La Reina de Todo