Rather than refer to Puerto Rico as The Island of Enchantment, it really should be called, The Island of The Kiss. Isla Del Beso. I grew up kissing, so it should not have come as a surprise during my recent visit, when I got kissed a total of 555 times (approximately).
My mom and her husband kissed me. So did my aunts, cousins, neighbors, the cleaning woman, the hairdresser, the manicurist, a chef, a wedding groom I barely knew, strangers and even a dog. Multiple times. Every time I saw them. Again and again. Muchos Besos.
I had somehow forgotten how much one gets kissed in Puerto Rico. It is a lovely tradition in spite of the germs it spreads. You feel instantly connected to the person and affectionately greeted. I am back from my two and a half week visit, so if you see me and I kiss you, please do not take it the wrong way. MMMUUUUUA!
As I mentioned in my previous post, Mi Casa Es Su Casa, I went to visit my mother in Puerto Rico, fleeing the record cold February from Hell of 2015 (Welcome March, I think I love you!) Not only did my aching arthritic joints thank me profusely and my taste buds kissed me passionately for giving them such savory and sweet delights to taste, but my heart burst with immense love and gratitude from the abundance of kindness my mother showered me with, the entire time.
Mucha comida above
She made sure every single minute of my stay was comfortable, loving and fun. I awoke every morning to a table set with linens and a healthy delicious breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice. The questions during our breakfasts consisted of what activity I wanted to do that day, what Puerto Rican food I wanted to eat and did I want white wine, red wine or both.
She hosted a family dinner where I got to see relatives that live in Puerto Rico that I don’t get to visit with often. She made sure to serve my favorite rice and bean dish with steak and sweet plantain. This is when at least half of those 555 besos took place.
As the days passed, my mother and her wonderful husband included me in all of their activities with their friends, to introduce me to those I had not yet met and to visit with the friends I knew. We went out to lunch and dinner for several days in a row. And got mas besos.
I was dropped off at the beach resort anytime I wanted and picked up when I was ready to go home, always with a smile, kindness, love and wine.
My mother insisted on buying me an extra pair of the special shoes I wear that fit my arthritic non-matching feet, just because. She also arranged for her hair dresser to cut my hair and give me a Keratin treatment ( sans the formaldehyde) to tame my curls (jumping up and down with glee with my new softer hair.) Do you see what I mean about her spoiling me?
Her love for her children has always been this strong (I have 3 siblings) and has never wavered. What has changed, is the quality of life she is able to have now at the age of 78 with her husband of four years who adores her and is able to provide a financially secure future for them both. My father passed away 17 years ago at the age of 62 and my mother had the struggles many widows have when they find themselves alone. Her joy comes from her wish and ability to provide the special extras to her children and by spoiling them rotten. And muchos besos.
After my diagnosis of ITP in 1989, when I became gravely ill and had my spleen removed and the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1992, my mother became my number one caretaker (well, neck and neck with my husband.) She worries about me and hates to see me in pain. That she can spoil me and make me feel better if just for a short time, is priceless.
Although I won’t see my mother again until November when she visits for Thanksgiving, I have a high reserve of love from her that will carry me through until then.