When I first started dating Leroy, I often wished I was Portuguese. It would have made things so much easier… I always wanted to be a part of a “culture” that had history and tradition… things that made someone special and unique. Eventually after a while, my wish was granted… sort of… with our involvement with the Festas… but not all of those memories are positive. The best part of “becoming” Portuguese is the family I inherited. I don’t just mean my in-laws… I’m talking about the whole group, aunts, uncles, cousins, second, third and fourth cousins (twice removed) and everyone else who claims to be related. I joke and call it My Big Fat Portuguese Family… but it really is true. It’s huge.
One of my favorites is Tia Rachel. She is my mother-in-law’s youngest sibling and probably the youngest aunt we have. She reminds me so much of my mother-in-law with her sweet disposition, her constant worrying and her abounding love for her family. The difference is that Tia Rachel was so young when the family emigrated to the US, she has had different life experiences from that of her older siblings. She’s an interesting combination of the Old and New World traditions. She can make her own cheese and surf the internet all in the same day.
One of my favorite experiences with Tia Rachel was when we were pregnant at the same time. I had only been a part of the family for about 4 years and I knew that she was sensitive, but I couldn’t help but tease. (Looking back on it now, I was merciless and I can’t believe how much I harassed her.) Her pregnancy was a surprise… a bit later in life than one would expect and she struggled throughout with horrible morning sickness. I on the other hand was younger, right on schedule with my child spacing… and never felt better in my life. Our “babies” are beginning their Senior year in high school this week… It seems like only yesterday when we held them in our arms.
Tia Rachel is one of my biggest fans. She reads this blog on a regular basis and is always so full of positive feedback and encouragement. She is inspirational to me and I hope she knows how much we love and appreciate her.