A child, we’ve watched grow up in our little town of Woodland, Washington, graduated from college and we were invited to the party held in her honor. It was in the backyard of the grad’s parent’s home. We’ve known this family since we moved to Woodland 13 years ago and we’ve grown to love them. They are kind and generous and they absolutely serve the best Mexican food in town. The parents are restauranteurs in Woodland.
The party consisted mostly of family, many of whom came up from California to celebrate. I don’t speak Spanish, so I couldn’t enjoy conversations that sounded really exciting and interesting. When you don’t understand a language as it’s spoken in conversation, it’s so fun to imagine what’s being said to elicit such joy, concern, horror, curiosity and such. With a good imagination you can make up wonderful scenarios! Everyone was gracious to us and they all spoke flawless English when speaking directly to us.
There was a young couple I was drawn to because of their 9-month-old baby named Camilla. They were so kind to spend some time with us “in English,” when most were enjoying their native language, which I totally understand. Generally I don’t write about parties we attend, but this morning as I sat down to my computer, I couldn’t get this young father out of my mind.
The couple just moved up to Washington from San Jose, California a month ago. The man had worked for one of the construction companies that built the Apple headquarters. He moved to Washington mainly because of the baby and the cost of living in California. He got a job right away (with benefits) and the cost for a two bedroom apartment in Washington turned out to be half what a one bedroom apartment was in California. This man was so grateful for everything, his work, his country (he’s a U.S. citizen), his wife and his baby that he was close to bliss speaking about them. I had to know more, as I had Camilla’s attention with my sparkly bracelet.
He told us he never dreamed he’d leave his job in California even though it didn’t pay that much. He’d worked for the company, without benefits, for 15 years, since he was a young boy. He also never dreamed he’d settle down, get married and have a baby. When his wife got pregnant, he said he was scared, because he never wanted kids, he didn’t know anything about them and he felt he’d made a mistake. He talked about his shame for not being very excited when his wife was pregnant. He wished he could do the whole nine months over again. Now, he wants another baby and can’t wait until they can. He was telling us this as he was spooning refried beans into Camilla’s mouth to her glee (she clapped after every bite).
What caught my heart about this man (and the Mexican culture in general) was his love of family. His child transformed him in ways he wasn’t expecting. With her birth he suddenly was a completely different man. He had such compassion as a father and you could feel the love oozing out of his pores. After nine months, he still was amazed at what this child had done to him.
Oh if we could keep that enthusiasm over the years as we raise our children. I remember when my son Michael was 5 years old saying to his Aunt Peggy as she gushed over her newborn, “I wonder when she’s going to figure out it’s just going to grow up to be a regular kid?”
God bless our families and God bless America.
For more from Pam Young, go to www.cluborganized.com.