But something else happened on his birthday back in 1961 on this day that we would commemorate long after he passed away. Our family arrived in Miami on February 13th, 1961. My father’s 50th birthday.
We celebrate it still. In fact I wrote a post about it last year.
My mom: "Sabes que dia es?" ("Do you know what day it is?")
Me: "El cumpleanos de Papi." ("Papi’s birthday.")
My mom: "Y 47 anos que estamos en el exilio." ("And forty-seven years in exile.")
My dad’s birthday and the day of our exile. They will remain forever married on the time/space continuum that measures my big, fat Cuban family.
Because that event, that simple crossing the 90 miles of Florida Straights, has been a life-defining event.
And we’ll NEVER get over it.
And we’ll NEVER forget where we came from.
And it will FOREVER define us.
Not just as Cuban refugees, but as Cuban Americans.
Happy Birthday, Papi. 47 years. It doesn’t seem possible.
If he were here today, I like to think that my dad would be one of my faithful blog readers.
And he’d agree with me that Forty-seven years is way too long to wait for change in Cuba.
But, Papi, I’m getting impatient. . .
I want change TODAY.
And he would smile in agreement. 😉