Hi friends, I haven’t seen you in a while.
I spent most of February being super stressed out about our first family vacation to Mexico, and most of March recovering from said vacation.
We went to Cancun since there are government warnings not to go to my husband’s home town and yada yada. The flight went smoothly (which is pretty much a miracle with two babies), and we rented a van and found our hotel without incident (also impressive considering the way people drive in Cancun, and the fact that there are seriously no lanes – everyone just blindly pushes their way forward and hopes not to get smashed by a larger vehicle).
We didn’t stay in the fancy-pants, all-inclusive resort area, but in the sort-of still nice but a lot more Mexican area, because I’m not a person who wants to go to Mexico and stay in some American all-inclusive resort chain. Ok, maybe a little, but ya know, money.
Anyway, it was a charming little hotel with Mayan décor, colorful tiled floors, a little aviary, a great pool with a bar, and what more do you want? I’ll tell you – you want a fridge in your room because you have a one year old who drinks a lot of bottles, but otherwise, we had everything we needed. Plus a convenience store a block away where we picked up a cooler and our daily supply of ice and milk.
The evening we arrived, Rafael’s mother and brother finished their journey from Veracruz, and the reunion of our family was emotional and quite beautiful. My husband had not seen them for 13 years, and I had never met them. Despite language issues, it was surprisingly easy to connect and converse. I guess when you love the same person and have limited time together, you naturally want to get to know each other and you make it happen.
Also, as soon as my baby girl laid eyes on Rafael’s brother, she ran over and raised her arms to be picked up. It was love at first sight, and all week she didn’t want anyone else holding her when he was around. Perhaps she thought he was the guy who used to be her daddy before the beard took over.
The next day we went to the glittering, gorgeous Playa Delfines. The ocean was like a big turquoise jewel, but the surf was powerful, so the kids played in the soft white sand with my in-laws (well, Rafi played… Lili mostly just tried to eat sand), while my husband and I swam. There were no crowds (except for the iguanas), it smelled like honey, and it was absolutely idyllic.
Then I got the flu.
HAAAAY ¿¿¿¡¡¡POR QUE A DIOS, POR QUE???!!!
So I don’t think it was actually the flu – I believe it was a nasty stomach virus combined with a severe sinus infection. After I got home it was followed by strep throat. All in all, I was sick for almost 3 weeks and two rounds of antibiotics, and lost nearly 10 pounds. And ladies, don’t be jealous, this is not a weight loss plan I would recommend. Seriously, be thankful and kind to your precious, healthy bodies.
Anyway. What do you do when you’re in Cancun and its 85 degrees and you feel like you’re freezing cold under a pile of blankets? Well, besides break out in a horrifying heat rash and pray fervently that your in-laws will stop trying to make you eat? Nothing. There is nothing you can do.
I try to look on the bright side though. Although we spent thousands of dollars for me to lay in a hotel bed while my family wandered around the hotel pool and nearby plaza and worried that they would come back to find me dead, there is no better way to bond with new family members than to have to be taken care of.
There is simply nothing like that special moment when you are vomiting all over the front steps of the hotel on your way to the doctor while your brother-in-law (who you met 3 days ago) gently pats your shoulder and murmurs “tranquila.” Or those interesting cross cultural conversations when your suegra tells you that what you need is to turn all your clothes and sheets inside out because that will make you feel better. And you kind of want to do it just to be respectful, but you kind of don’t think you can stand up for that long. And then there’s the extended family over in Puerta Moreles who tell you that if you just go to the beach and breathe the fresh air you’ll feel better, but all you really want to do is keep sleeping across the back seat of the rental van.
But in all seriousness, not being able to take care of my kids gave my family a lot more time to bond with them, nurture them, and get to know them, which in light of our limited time together is kind of special. The purpose of our trip was to spend time with family, and we were able to do that. They got to see a very vulnerable, authentic side of me and I got to see their kindness and compassion.
I am hoping that we’ll be able to return in a few years and I will be able to function like, the entire time, and not be the delicate American relative who can’t handle the climate change. But my husband says that I’m never allowed to go back to Mexico, so I won’t get my hopes too high. Still, I’m grateful for the time that we got to spend together and the unique family that now feels like mine.