One of these days I should write a soap opera inspired by real life. Actually, I believe my cousin in Santa Barbara had a one-woman play that ran for a while in LA, inspired in part by nuestra familia loca.
1. It's fun window-shopping for baby clothes. And it's fun not having to limit myself to the baby girls' or boys' section, since one sister just had a girl and the other one will be having a boy soon. These kids, I swear, will be uber-spoiled, if Auntie B has anything to do with it!
2. La Madre famously declared she didn't want to know the gender of her first grandchild until it was born, and we all managed to keep it a secret from her. She announced her intention to remain ignorant of her second grandchild's gender as well.
3. A few days ago, aforementioned cousin posts her Facebook "status" as wondering about the California wildfires. I post a comment on her wall, saying I hoped the fires weren't too close and that she was OK. Two hours later she sends me an FB message saying her father/my uncle just died in the hospital. Go Facebook, giving relatives 3000 miles apart another way to face their dysfunctional realities.
4. I call my brother-in-law and sister in Michigan, who have not heard the news. Except for emergencies like sudden deaths, we usually get family news via official memos, which attorney Grandpa would send routinely via USPS. However, since his recent demise, the family news circuit has experienced some missing links.
5. I call La Madre, who has not heard either. La Madre, as is Her way, immediately denies it ("What? No, she must've misunderstood." "What? The baby was born? No, they're just playing a joke on you.") La Madre calls Grandma, with whom the late uncle lived until his hospitalization, and receives confirmation of the details. Grandma was not doing well with the news, and had been a little slow in spreading it.
6. All of us had a very complicated relationship with the uncle, to severely understate the point. The cousins are flying in from LA and Madrid. Another cousin, who was apprehended a few months ago near the Mexico border as he attempted to escape parole, is currently awaiting arraignment for what I believe is his third strike (again, no update memos since Grandpa passed away); he used to call his father, at Grandma's, every day from the county jail. With the fourth sibling, they'll make the funeral arrangements, which is a horrible, horrible task for any child to do, no matter their relationship with their parent. It's unclear at this point what the service will be, if there will be one, but I will be unable to attend.
7. Grandma --who lost first her youngest son (my dad) six years ago while insanely driving across the country in an old '88 Toyota to attend her husband's 60th law school reunion in Connecticut, then lost her husband (Grandpa, the Talisker-swigging king) this past February after finally deciding not to drag his battle out any longer, and now has lost her second-youngest son-- is one of the strongest and bravest and smartest and sympathetic women I know.
8. Pregnant sister goes to check up on Grandma, and decides to let Grandma in on the secret of the baby's gender, unaware that Grandma had been understandably fixing herself some very, very strong martinis.
9. Grandma swears not to tell La Madre the gender.
10. Once Mi Hermana leaves, Grandma immediately calls La Madre to congratulate her on her forthcoming grandson.
Lala, how the life goes on...