Family- Life’s greatest blessing, a group that dreams, laughs, plays, and loves together. Those of whom you can always count on. Ever present, not only in the good times. Most precious gift ...
I look at the clock, 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Then look at a picture of myself, my grandmother (I call her vovoa’- means grandmother in Portuguese), my mom, brother, cousins, and nieces. Saturdays have always been family days. From the time I can remember, my mom would bring us to my vovoa’s or my aunt’s house every Saturday afternoon.
My earliest memories are at my vovoa’s house. My uncles aren’t that much older than myself, and I can remember them getting forced to babysit us. We would all go to Saint Joseph’s Church to play in the parking lot. LOL. They were not too happy with it. I also remember them taking us sledding and almost going into a busy street at Brooklawn Park.
I think the funniest moment was the time we went four-wheeling with my uncle Steve’s brand new truck and he hit a tree. “Don’t tell your grandmother!”
After my uncles had their own family, we found ways to be entertained. There was a pool table downstairs that we used and would play outside. Then my aunt moved next door to my grandmother so we would see her much more.
I don’t know if it’s a Portuguese thing, but families I knew lived close together. Most of my family lived right next to each other. My grandmother lived on the first floor, my Uncle Mike second floor, my uncle Steve third floor, and aunty Kathy, the next apartment over.
As I got older, we began shopping on Saturdays with my vovoa’, cousins, and aunt. My grandmother always liked shopping and going to the mall. I don’t know exactly when it began, but we started to go for coffee at Dunkin Donuts (A coffee shop that began in New England). Every week we would sit and talk about events going on. My vovoa’ would love to tell us gossip. Speaking on the phone, gossip, and being the neighborhood watch where her favorite activities.
I grew up and moved around the country, but I would do Saturdays at vovoas’ chatting over coffee whenever I was home. For the last four or five years of her life, I felt blessed to be home and experience being around her more often. I cherish these memories so much. As she aged, her mobility impacted her getting in and out of the car. We still tried every Saturday to go out. If she didn’t feel like leaving the house, we would bring the coffee to her.
Due to her not being able to care for herself, my grandparents were placed in a nursing home. Every Saturday, we went to the nursing home and brought her coffee. As the days went by, my grandmother developed dementia, but her spirit still shined and she always could make me laugh.
She passed away in July 2019 and Saturdays became my most challenging day of the week. I miss her presence. With moving to Taiwan, I’ve been busy, usually traveling on the weekends. When I’m at home on Saturdays, I think about coffee Saturdays and how I miss them. Today is one of those days where I’m missing home and the simple things it can bring. I miss being able to go to the store and read labels, going to my favorite restaurant, and driving without scooters on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I love Taiwan and feel blessed to be here, especially during this time of Covid. At times, I do yearn for the particular comforts of home, and this is one of those days.
Vovoa’- I lit the candle for you like you used to do for me every time I traveled. You would only put it out once I arrived to my destination safely. I love you! Until we meet again.