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Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Missing My Primos During Thanksgiving

Submitted by on November 15, 2011 – 1:00 am13 Comments

cuban cousins in miami

I am missing my primos.

It happens every Thanksgiving.

As I prepare my family’s feast, I get flooded with memories of us — in our good clothes, light sweaters and doused in violetas cologne — playing at our abuelos’ house while the turkey cooks and the adults talk/argue. (“We’re not arguing, we’re talking Cuban!” the adults claim.)

Seven of eight of us cousins were little kids together in Miami. Three of us were born within 30 days of each other and shared the “corral” our first two years of life. (The eighth cousin, by the way, showed up later, when the older ones were nearly adults.) Now, five of us are in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Tampa and New Jersey, and Nashville. Only three remain in Miami.

We don’t see each other — all together — often enough.

And, in this season of celebrating family, I am in longing. Facebook updates just aren’t enough. I am watching their children grow from a distance. They barely know my only child.

My primos on my mom’s side are like my siblings. We were together during the holidays of our youth. We share the same characters that loomed large in our early lives. We know the pitch of the Tios’ voices, the smell of our grandmother’s perfume, the strong hand of our grandfather. We each think the other one’s mother is the favorite Tia.

We know the old chismes (because we listened when the adults thought we didn’t). We shared pinata birthdays, the beach on Sundays, and our awkward adolescences. I look at us now, with crow’s feet and gray hair, and I still see the Little Kid us. I love those little kids.

When I am with them during visits that are too short, my edges soften, my spirit brightens. I laugh easier. I am not being overly dramatic or poetic, just describing a love that is deep, a love for primos that is comfortable and honest.

Next week, my parents will be at my house, my cousins with their families, and a core group of familia will be together in Miami. I cannot but wish this year we could all be together — with all our kids (9 so far) running around making their own memories together as the turkey cooks and the adults talk/argue. We’d tell our kids we’re just “talking Cuban!”

Seriously, I think I am going to organize Primos Day of Skyping on Thanksgiving, a way to bridge the gap in miles.

I am not sure I have told them just how much they mean to me.

Ya es hora.

Y Tu?

Do you love and adore your primos, too?
Who are you missing this Thanksgiving?
Is there someone you need to reach out to this Holiday?

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