December 5, 2004

quiet sunday

I talked to a friend today who had a baby girl about a month ago. He's in the curious situation of not living in the same city as his wife. She and the baby are hundreds of miles away. The situation is perfectly logical (they plan to be together at some point), there are good reasons they are where they are, and yet the situation seems so cruelly unfair, his sadness palpable. I can't imagine being away... and yet I know it happens all the time. Another friend of mine lives in London, his wife and kids in Miami simply because he couldn't give up his job nor she hers. Every other cab driver in Manhattan has a family half a world a way... Still, hard for me to wrap my mind around...

My dad was still in Vietnam when I was born. My mom in was in the Hospital Muguerza in Monterrey Mexico. Shortly after the long labor a nurse came in, waking her, and repeating the word "nieve". Confused, my mom kept saying she didn't want "nieve" which she understood as the word for ice cream. But the word can also mean snow, and eventually my mom was led to the window. Almost two feet of snow fell that night in a city that never sees snow. My mom had been worried about my dad, but looking out at the snow she took it as a sign he was ok.

My dad's tour of duty had months remaining and news of the birth travelled slowly as communications between the Mekong Delta and Monterrey were sketchy at best. A telegram arrived almost two weeks late followed a week later still by a letter containing a dusty bit of umbilical cord (not knowing what to do, he buried it). Oddly enough news of the snow came almost immediately in the Stars and Bars. Knowing the storm had hit around the expected due date, he took it as a sign everything was going to be ok.

posted at 09:56 PM by raul

Filed under: family lore

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