I got back four days ago from a nice trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to visit my mom, Norma. She retired and moved there almost 20 years ago, and I’ve visited her quite a few times. She loves living there, and I can understand why; it’s a beautiful place where she enjoys a full and productive life. But I’m not 100% thrilled with the fact that she moved so far away.
I love San Miguel, and by now it almost feels like a second home to me. But accepting that Norma’s happiness included moving to another country is still somewhat difficult. While her independent spirit is inspirational, the distance can be frustrating; it’s a bit inconvenient to travel there, and when things like health issues arise, the remoteness complicates things. Oh well, it’s just another item on the long list of “things I can’t control”, which includes almost everything.
That said, I’ve been very lucky/blessed in this life. I’ve survived the few difficulties that have come my way, and I’m mostly healthy, happy, and vital. Wonderful people, pets, and stuff surround me. And for that, I’m grateful. Even philosophical.
For centuries, various Mexican cultures have believed in “La muerte” or, death. The day of the dead celebrates the concept that everything and everyone we have in this life, including our own life, is just on loan, and can be taken from us at any moment. This allows us to choose to live and love for today and not be so “attached”.
I totally dig this philosophy, but I still seem to want to hold onto the people and stuff that I love. That’s part of why the many miles between my family members and me bothers me so much. And when I lose stuff that I like, it bugs me. Like on this trip back from Mexico, when AeroMexico lost my suitcase.
After talking to the Miami Airport baggage personnel every day for four days, Miguel said there was little hope of finding it and I should give up and submit a list of items and their value. I was pretty bummed out; the suitcase held some cool Mexican cooking utensils I had purchased as well as a few irreplaceable clothing items. I began to ponder how the spreadsheet would look. How much value do I give an out-of-print PALO! t-shirt? Does Amazon.com even sell an authentic handmade molcajete or comal?
Suddenly Mexico’s omnipresent death symbols entered my mind. Oh yeah. Maybe this is a lesson. After all, who knows? Perhaps it wasn’t my destiny to grind my own chiles or make quesadillas with authentic Mexican tools. Maybe I needed a reminder of the unimportance of stuff. Just as I began to accept this possibility, the phone rang.
“¿Halo? Mister Estif? Ees Miguel. We half jorr suitcase!” I must admit, I was very happy. Yes, I know, it’s just stuff, but it’s stuff that I like.
Still, I’d trade that whole suitcase full of stuff, and a lot more, for a chance to see my mom more often. Love you, mom! Thanks for a great visit.