What does the darn word “familia” mean anyway??

Families aren’t perfect!

Now Puerto Rican families are another thing.  We’re loud, to expressive, we kiss, we hug, we hate each other once in a while, but we also love and are loyal.

Like my mom always says, “esa es  familia.”  They are family.  However it dawns me that we don’t even know what the dam word means.

Are we supposed to put up with them no matter what?

According to an Online Etymology Dictionary (I’ll give you their website address at the end of the post), the word family comes from the Latin word familia.  Which first was considered only for servants (that’s still true if you ask me), then it evolved into relatives and servants (they forgot the part that states that relatives sometimes become servants),  and then in people who are related by blood in a general sense (aunts, uncles, first, second and third cousins by the way, etc.).  Probably the  Puerto Rican family was born during that moment.

We fight with them, yet we regret and fuss with remorse.

We aren’t happy with them, but without them are happiness isn’t complete.

We talk about them at their backs, but we stand up to anyone who dares to say something about them.

We hate their choice of partners, but we  toast to their happiness grating our teeth during their weddings, waiting patiently until they divorce (to say I told you so), and if they do make it through marriage we then say he/she changed along the way even if it’s not true.

AND I can still go on about it for a while.

If you want to have an idea, see the movie “The Holiday”, it pretty much pictures what our families are all about.

It’s our duty to look after our elders, even if it kills us…

So you have an idea, yesterday I was at my aunt’s house running some errands for her.  She needed me to make some phone calls, these women think I’m their PA and chauffeur for heaven’s sake. So, here I am on the phone trying to call our local tax offices and my mom is bossing my aunt around,

“Hurry up, she needs your social security number, where in earth did you place it??? Did you lose it again?

All of this while I’m listening to the recording,  -In order to help you, you should have your social security number dialed in now…… waiting, waiting and since my aunt is still looking for the dam social security card I press the star key, not that they told me to, but I figured that would give me more time to get hold of the number.  While my aunt says

-Don’t dial in my social security number! Loud so I was sure to understand her.

To which my mom also on the loud side tells her,  just get it because she needs it.

-How I’m I suppose to get the information on your tax credit??? There is no other way.  I answer with a quiet tone.

As it goes, she found the card two seconds after my time was up.

So I had to start from the beginning all over again.  But this time with the number at hand. (Thank God).

While this is happening,  they  (meaning my mom and her sister) are trying to organize some sort of file system that is all contained in a clear box, supposedly that will work just fine so my aunt has all her bills in the same place, as well as her other papers.

My mom in charge is simply setting aside what she thinks isn’t important and telling my aunt that she needs to burn the rest.  With all what’s happening with identity theft it’s the best way of disposing of their personal information (forget about global warming).

After we’re done with that one, she brings me a nice hot cup of coffee with crackers and cheese.  With my tummy happy, she blows the next one at me… I need you to call my cel company their charging me more money each month.  I”m thinking probably because she’s using the phone too much.

Well  you see, there it is “la familia”, all members of a household cemented in love even when it annoys the hell out of you.



The Dynamic Trio

Something that concerns me lately is who is going to take care of my elderly aunts.  They are fraternal twins, one has a couple of great kids, the only problem with them is that they live in the States (one in New Jersey the other in New York) and she doesn’t want to move in with neither of them.  The other one also has a couple of kids who aren’t as great.  But, the question is still in my head, who will take care of them both?

via morgueFile

I usually drive them around when I have the time.  If I can’t  my mom will drive them a little bit more than around.  She’s the only out of the three of them that has a driver’s license.  Sometimes I joke with them about not to speed because if they crash between all three of them you can add  two hundred and ten years of history.  She usually get’s a little annoyed with me because she thinks she’s a teenager.

Once after they had shopped for groceries at a local supermarket they hit the supermarket’s fence and simply left (nobody had ever explained to my mom what a hit and run was).  As the story goes on, I was at my mom’s in the afternoon as I usually am and we were working on a project together, when the phone rings.  I answered it and to my surprise my aunt says, “Don’t say anything to “Comay Lucy” (that’s Spanish for co-mother, she’s also my godmother), but there are some police officers here that need to speak to us! I’m never shopping there again.”  Please, someone explain to me what does the latter have to do with what’s going on!  To top it all  the POLICE was looking for my mom.

Meet my mom! She really doesn’t look like the kind and elderly lady from morgueFile. Thanks Ivette for this picture, which was posted for my brother’s enjoyment.


She asked me who was at the phone, to which I answered.

“What happened today in Pepino (the small town where the supermarket is located)?

To which she replied with another question, Who told you?

To which I replied, “No one told me a word, but something seems to have happened because the police is looking for you, so you better get your ID and driver’s license and hop over to Madrina’s house.”

Well fast forwarding this little story, the police officer kindly suggested them to drive carefully in the future, and that they would need to address the situation of the broken fence as soon as possible, like right now.  So, I had to call the store manager, tell him that they intended to call in the morning (Did they? We will never know.), and $700.00 later they were out of the problem.

They are a funny trio, but they are getting older by the minute.  All of them have their little this and that, my mom has huge amounts of this and that, but she doesn’t worry me because she can always count on me.

People leave, they relocate, they move and that’s fine. But, what happens with their parents when they no longer can care for themselves?  Who will tend, talk, or share a cup of coffee or tea with them?

Lately I often tell my godmother, she’s going to have to consider moving in with her daughter.  To which she always answers with a  “Noooooo!  I don’t like it there, it’s cold,  and I’m alone (my cousin needs to work) so she can’t afford staying home with her mom.”  Nevertheless, when that day finally arrives I’ll miss her dearly.  On the other hand, my other aunt probably will end up in a nursing home near my own home.  I’m sure I’ll visit her frequently, but still as I watch the dynamic trio (my aunts and Mom) my heart is full of worries because I really don’t know what will be the end of their stories.

I only hope it’s as good as their lives (with all the good and not so good)  have been!