We didn't do the typical vacations when I was younger. I have yet to see the Grand Canyon, or the giant sequoia trees a few hours north of where my parents live. When I think back on family adventures, Mexico comes to mind. Since I was an infant my parents made it a point to bring me back to Mexico every summer of my life. I mean, I didn't miss a summer vacation in Mexico until I was twenty-one, and then not again until I was twenty-six.
Summers were filled with baby cousins and trips to the local pharmacy to pick up chips and candy. We were given a few pesos for ice cream and my cousin Alejanda and I would walk several blocks by ourselves to get a cone and walk around the gardens in the center of town.
We would steal little bits of wood and my grandpa would help us build fires, and we sat around them telling stories and drinking Coca-Cola from big glass bottles.
There were a couple of years when we set our dolls aside and my cousin and I went through the corn stalks, looking for little corn cobs that were growing along side larger corn cobs. We would leave the silk on and pretend it was hair on a little corn doll the way my grandma used to do when she was a little girl.
Last time I was here was two and a half years ago. I was expecting our first child who we later lost to miscarriage. It has been a blessing to return with my husband and our healthy baby boy.
A couple of evenings ago we packed up coffee and bread and climbed into my grandpas pickup truck and made our way to his ranch, Rancho Sta. Elena, named after my grandma.
We fed the cows, picked magnolia flowers off of the tree and drank coffee and ate sweet bread.
As the sun set, we put the cameras away, shut off the lights and stared up into the night sky. The initial darkness was engulfing and a bit frightening. But as our eyes adjusted we saw the heavens scattered with stars.
I pray we can give our children these memories.