Coming off the weekend I just had, this one couldn’t have come at a better time.
So, my girl Charlotte tied the knot recently and celebrated with a reception in Utah this past Friday. I flew into town for the occasion. When I booked my flight I wasn’t thinking about the best way to spend my time. I was thinking about the best way to spend my money. With this objective, I arrived Thursday at midnight and planned for a departure Saturday afternoon. Hello and goodbye. In and out. Holler atchya girl, Utah.
That was the plan, anyway.
I hadn’t seen Charlotte in a long-ass time. Boyfriends, babies and bullshit got in the way. Anyway, she was on bride duty during the reception so we only had a brief moment to catch up. During that time she told Miranda, Samantha and I that she really missed our friendship. I could hear the sincerity in her voice and see the girlfriend void in her eyes.
We agreed my bachelorette party would be a much-needed reunion and we said our goodbyes. Several hours later, on the night of her reception, Charlotte sent the three of us a text. She wanted us to know how much it meant to her that we made cameos and again said she missed us. The thought of her in a wedding gown, high heels kicked off, probably fixin’ to slip into some bridal lingerie — but first texting her girlfriends that date back to Robert Frost Elementary– made my heart smile.
But, that was nothing compared to what happened earlier that day.
Before the wedding reception, I spent all day Friday with my madre, Clair. I was pretty sure Salt Lake wouldn’t be the city in which I’d find my wedding gown, but I wanted the shopping experience with my mom, so I booked a couple appointments.
First boutique, first gown: We’re both tearing up. I managed to fight mine, but the madre lost her battle. I don’t know what she was feeling, staring at her daughter in a dress that appeared to be ”the one,” but as the daughter staring at her mother I knew I was experiencing a gift. I wanted to remember every detail so I could replay the scene in my head whenever I’d want or need to in the future.
Oh my God, did I really just find my dress? To be sure, we visited two other boutiques for the sole purpose of me wiggling into a half a dozen white wonders, looking in the mirror and saying no to the dress. Me and the madre went back to boutique one, The Brides’ Shop, and met with a seamstress. I found the gown and I found it with my mom. What a day. What a moment. What a gift.
I spent Saturday at Clair’s. She prepared a dope brunch for the whole familia. After all us “kids” and the real kids (Chet and Lizzy G’s three boys) stuffed our faces, everyone gathered around to present yours truly with a late birthday present. A sparkling amethyst bracelet to “start rebuilding my jewelry collection” since the burglary depleted me of most of it. I ordered my tears not to make an appearance and thanked my thoughtful family for the beautiful present.
Over the next few hours, we embarrassed ourselves in front of the XBox Kinect. We even managed to coax my oldest nephew G into debuting his dance moves. He’s nearing the end of his teens which might explain the willingness to be part of the fam again. It really couldn’t get any better.
As my flight time was nearing, my favorite tio (that means uncle, gringos) called. I spoke to him briefly and told him I loved him. I realized as I listened to his aged voice tell me an injury might force him into retirement that I hadn’t spoken to him in a decade. I’m hanging up with him and Serena’s dog, Harry, is at my feet. His face looks like an old man’s and his legs shake when he stands on them now.
All of it — missing my friends, having a once-in-a-lifetime moment with my mom, the thoughtful gift from the familia, dumb fun with my siblings and nephews, my favorite uncle’s and Harry’s old age staring me in the face — hit my heart all at once. Finally, my tears found the nearest exit and I lost it on the couch in my mom’s living room. I’m talking a can’t-catch-your-breath kind of cry. Like bees to honey, my mom and sisters swarmed me with concern.
I was online changing my flight to Sunday, and paying twice the amount I was originally trying to save, in a matter of minutes. The homesickness kicked my frugalness’ tight little ass to the curb.
Clair, Serena, Venus and I spent that night bonding. Like, real bonding. Clair told us the kind of family secrets that make telenovelas seem totally plausible. We looked through old pictures and reminisced about good times.
I can’t tell you how great it felt. When Clair and Serena dropped me at the airport the next day I didn’t want to let go of their hugs and walked to the check-in counter wiping tears that were officially overstaying their welcome.
The entire time I was there I felt like my hometown was saying “Hello and goodbye, huh? In and out, huh? Holler atchya what?” while slapping me upside the head. Thank you, hometown. I needed that.
I’m thankful for the events that transpired over those three days, but I’m even more thankful that I have a home to be sick for. My friends pick up right where we left off. My family makes me not want to leave them. My hometown is still home.