Yesterday, I felt like I was going to burst. I went to Trader Joe’s with both kids after their naps. This was, as usual, cutting it way too close to dinnertime. I feel anxious even now just thinking of the frenzy.
For those of you who may not have realized it, yesterday was Cinco de Mayo*. Not many people in the Northeast take this holiday very seriously, but in our house, it is observed almost religiously.
So, I was scrambling to find some tri-tip or tamales or Carne Asada, something, anything that I could pull into a celebration. Not that any of us really felt like celebrating anyway. We are all just recovering from the flu, and sinusitis, conjunctivitis, ear infections and cabin fever. We have been on edge and irritable from the 13 month old to the 31 year old.
In light of all this, all I could muster is some low grade ground beef, commercial guacamole and handmade tortillas. The tortillas were my saving grace and my Achilles heel. We heat them over the gas stove’s flames in a very dangerous and yet authentic manner. I usually end up with some singed arm hairs.
Yesterday, this flame throwing tortilla toasting was happening while my husband sorted the laundry in the kitchen in order to take it to the launder-o-mat. We hadn’t been in two weeks, so there were like 45 lbs of underwear, shirts, jeans, onzies, towels, etc piled in each corner. Amidst all this both kids were bull dozing around convinced that the laundry piles were for tunneling and jumping in. Their adventures were punctuated by squeals and screams. Basically, it was a total mad house.
And writing it now, the scene seems sweet and nostalgic but at the time I was like, “If everyone doesn’t get to the table in 3 minutes there are going to be serious consequences!!!” I had no idea what sort of consequences I was going to come up with but I felt determined to make things fall into line whatever it took. And of course, I burned my fingers flipping the tortillas.
I blame it on the rush, the feeling of pressure that everyone has to get to bed, and I have emails to send, tests to study for, and blog entries to write. I blame it on my indecision...should my husband go do the laundry or should I? Which is more efficient? More self-less, less likely to cause conflict? This over analytical state of rushing causes my fingers to burn and this irrational anger to rise up in me.
But then our upstairs neighbors knock on the door, sour cream and salsa in hand. They are here to celebrate with us. The kids are thrilled and soon laughter ensues. It takes a while for my fight or flight instincts to relax but they do.
And so I’m thinking, what would we do without our neighbors? Those upstairs and those over the border. Thanks to them, time and time again catastrophe has been averted and peace and justice reign. I always think the solution for my madness is to lock myself away for some good old “me time” but really it usually is a million times better to be in community. So, happy belated Cinco de Mayo...don't celebrate alone:)
*Cinco De Mayo originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of thanks to Mexico in fending off the would be French invasion of the U.S. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. In the United States, Cinco de mayo is generally mistaken to be Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16.- Wikipedia