Today my mom turns 93.
Last year we thought it would be fun to throw her a surprise party. When she came through the door and we yelled "Sorpresa!" we had a moment where it occurred to us it might not have been such a great idea to surprise the 92 year old like this. LOL
But she loved it and immediately rose to the occasion.
Here’s the fam trying to get it together for a portrait.
It’s WORK, let me tell you.
My mother’s name is Luz Aurora Verdés y Perez-Puelles.
She was married for 60 years to my dad, Rodolfo Verdés.
Together they had 6 kids: Ofelia, Helen, Rodolfo, Miriam, Alina, & Marta.
She has 5 in-laws who all adore her.
And 16 grandchildren who range in ages from 43 to 11. Four of the grands are married to wonderful people.
She has 7 great-grandchildren – ages 6 years to 1 month.
That adds up to 38. This is just the immediate family. She has friends scattered all over the world.
A few years ago in 2002 we had a family reunion which included her big brother, from Miami (93 then himself). Her baby brother and baby sister, from Havana (both octogenerians). Their childhood friend from Puerto Rico, also in his 80’s. Their last name is Perez-Puelles. We affectionately call them "Los Perez-Puellones."
My cousin Waldo traveled from Cuba to be here with his dad. His sister Maria traveled from Miami. We had not seen each other since we were little wiggly things back in Cuba. 40 years is a long time.
Why did we go to all this trouble?
The answer is always the same -We did it for my mom. It was a labor of love.
Probably for my kids too. I think it’s important for them to see us honoring the older generations. I want my kids to honor their Cuban roots.
During the week of the reunion, Amy was everywhere with her camera. Documenting every airport pick up, every arrival, every hug. She was still shooting video the day of the party.
These are my mom’s people. Her brothers and sisters. The day was rich in love, rich in food, and even entertainment.
Amy & I were racing around behind the scenes cutting video and scanning photos and using new footage almost immediately. It was so sweet for my uncles who had not seen us since we were very young girls. The emotion was so thick, it was visible. We had so many wonderful laughs together. We were all so pumped and so happy to be here.
I was remembering this as we were preparing for this birthday.
She will be leaving quite a legacy.
I say all this by way of introduction. Here’s a portion of the video we created for the reunion. I think it’s appropriate because everything we do for my mom…. we do for love.
With a nod to Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart.
So today we honor her, who is the glue that holds this beautiful family together.
"Felicidades, Mami." Te quiero.
(there’s a lot of black at the beginning.. wait for it..)