My First Quinceañera
I relaxed a while, and started thinking about heading home. However, at that point several of the restaurant staff showed up in full Mexican party-wear. I whistled appreciatively and asked them what was up. As it turns out, the restaurant was catering the Quinceañera (sweet 15 party) next door for their niece, but they were attending instead of serving.
My well-dressed friend, who was a lawyer in México before emigrating to the US and working at the restaurant, introduced me to “Mi Santíssima Madre” (“my most holy Mom”). I admitted to Mom that I had never been to a Quince, and apparently I looked at the door wistfully, because she immediately invited me over. I demurred, assuming she was just being polite, and this white girl from Wisconsin actually had no place at the traditional family-oriented Mexican tradition.
However, she pulled her son and daughter over, and they literally dragged me next door. They gently steered me to a place at one of the tables between their respective spouses, set a heaping steaming plate of meat, tortillas and beans in front of me, brought me a drink and handed me a beautiful snow globe as a party favor. They further informed the entire table that this was my first Quince, and explicitly instructed them I was to be treated as family.
I sat at the table bemused, timid, overwhelmed and profoundly grateful. I danced the night away with the kids, the adults and the oldsters, met the Belle of the ball Jessica, and gazed in wonder at the decorations, the band, the conviviality and the beauty of cultural tradition and the innumerable ways people show love to each other.
Too Blessed To Be Stressed
But what I saw when I rocked up to the doorway of my office stopped me dead in my tracks:
My desk was festooned with balloons, flowers, a plaque reading “Too Blessed To Be Stressed” and a card. I had to fight not to choke up, deeply moved by the gesture.
I ignored both the printer and the irritating patient to focus on engaging with the appreciation I felt. After reading the card a couple of times, I walked out and gave hugs and words of sincere thanks to each of my coworkers. Despite only working with them a few hours per week for a few months, they felt I deserved this? I felt so special.
I then pulled up my emotional shields, went back in and dealt with Ms Irritating, and enjoyed the rest of my day, which suddenly seemed a lot sunnier than it had just a few minutes ago.
Save the Last Hike For Me
The sweat poured off me and into the mouths of those execrable bugs as I swiftly climbed over and through and around and under the rocks and long grass and cacti and streams and occasional trees. The resulting views were stunning, though, and worth every second, every erg and every bug bite.
Did I mention that I had already sung for five hours that morning, twice through John Rutter’s Requiem, for the “First Sunday” concert/mass at church? Well, between that and my strenuous mountain hike, when I arrived home I gratefully collapsed onto my couch and did absolutely nothing useful for the rest of the day.
And It Was Wonderful.