Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feliz Día del Padre

Today was a lot easier on the emotions than this time last year (our second Father’s Day without the boys). Not that we have forgotten about our kids (completely); it’s just that it’s easier to cope!

Last year, we were still adjusting to being away from our boys (ages 24 and 29) and we had just married off our youngest son, so emotions were running high. Knowing that Mark wouldn’t be receiving any Father’s Day cards, we were proactive in our packing and brought the “best of the best” with us. The homemade cards with the scribbles and misspelled words were our favorite, so we made room for them in our suitcase.

I think our boys are used to our absence after a year. The calls are less frequent and for Father’s Day, Mark only heard from one of our sons with a Facebook message.

Yep, they’ve forgotten about us!

But Mark and I didn’t forget our dads: we called as soon as we got home from church and had a great time talking with them. Maybe it’s a generational thing (I’m not quite sure), but I think it’s healthy that they aren’t so attached to us. We did our job well—“we gave them roots and now they have wings!”

Father’s Day isn’t celebrated with as much gusto as Mother’s Day, but we knew where to find the action—the mall! After church, we walked to Mall del Rio—the biggest shopping center in Cuenca and I treated Mark to “French fries and ice cream.” It sounds strange, but that’s what he wanted: something sweet and salty. It may have to do with the fact that we lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for 23 years where they eat ice cream with potato chips!

The food court in the mall was packed and we watched generations of fathers enjoy their meal, have their picture taken with the kids, and then open up gifts. We sat next to a large family with seven kids and each child had a gift wrapped for Papá! More than a few tears betrayed me as I watched the love and generosity of each child.

Afterwards we took a stroll down the aisles of Mall del Rio and ran into about everyone we knew! Sunday is a big day for shopping at the “Rio,” but this was more like a Macy’s Day Parade. There were kids jumping on trampolines, families dining out at “La Creta,” and a lot of gift-giving in the aisles of Coral (our version of Wal-Mart).

Just as we were about to exit the mall, a thunderstorm broke loose and we were stranded without an umbrella, so back to the stores we went and did some window shopping. I’m not much of a shopper, but I found some great bargains—especially in the evening gown section. Dresses that were normally $210 were marked down 80 percent!

When the storm started to clear, we headed home on the #7 bus and watched as a double rainbow appeared just as approached our doorstep.

¡Feliz día papá!

Until next time…hasta luego!

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Enjoy a review of my book, Living and Retiring in Ecuador.

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