Mother's Day 2008

(Subtitled: Death by Chocolate)

It is 11:30am on Mother's Day, and already I have filled 8 large bags with yard trash, done dishes and tried several times -- unsuccessfully -- to watch the episode of *Carrier* I Tivo'd on Friday night.

I call Abuelo while soaking Zack in the bathtub.

Abuelo answers on the third ring, sounding sad. Still, we find something to laugh about.

He and I have a long history of playing well together over the past 39 years.

We have had hundreds of hours of long talks about Cuba, money and God while soaking stamps, sorting coins, eating ham sandwiches, feeding ducks and fishing off short piers.

My Abuelo and I have always genuinely liked each other, and since Abuela left us, we have grown even closer in our grief.

Today I call to tell him to tell me Happy Mother's Day, and to report to him that since the kids haven't made me my surprise Mother's Day breakfast, I am refusing to feed them.

He thinks I'm kidding, and laughs.

"I'd bring YOU a big piece of chocolate cake & a glass of Coca-cola for breakfast," I tell him.

He laughs more. "Would you believe I had a piece of chocolate cake already today? And two Hersheys bars?"

I believe it.
I have known the man my whole life.
He is a sweet man with a sweet tooth.

Still, I pretend to be shocked.

"Keep eating like that, viejo mio, and you won't live very long!"

"I've lived long enough. I want to go see your Abuela now, and if eating chocolate speeds it up..."

We both laugh.

He speaks next. "I love you, Melissita. I mean it."

"I know Abuelo, I'll see you in a few weeks."

The kids grow impatient for my attention again, and I'm pulled back into my Mother's Day, washing the multiple Zoe-penned tatoos off Zack's milky white body, still hungry for my surprise breakfast.

Abuelo and I, both sniff a little bit while saying our goodbyes in Spanglish.

Later, while slipping a dryer-warmed robe over Zack's soapy smelling, shivering body, I make a mental note to mail my Abuelo a big box of chocolate.