Just a quick heartwarming holiday story. It’s about Tias and Tamales.
This holiday season is a pretty significant one for me.
This is the year that I am documenting one of the most prized of my family traditions…tamale making.
My mom and Tias (aunts in Spanish) and cousins over the last 50 years have made thousands of tamales.
Not just any tamales, but the best ever. The most super flavorful, fluffy, meaty tamales you will ever taste…EVER.
And, there is a secret to this recipe that I will never be able to share with you unless I kill you, and I’m not ready to spend the rest of my life in jail and never have tamales again.
Ok, I’ll give up one secret ingredient…
No, we don’t put Malibu Rum in the tamales but sometimes masa ends up in your Malibu Baybreeze, and after the 5th one…I don’t notice much.
So anyways, the whole point of my story is to show how food can bring people together.
Last weekend before Christmas, we rounded off the last of our tamale making.
Malibu Baybreezes flowing…aunts and cousins spreading masa, and of course colorful conversation about each other and everyone and everything else. When, somehow, my one Tia is brought up in conversation.
We call her “Tia Chavety”. Don’t ask me what a “Chavety” is, but it’s a valid nickname I’m sure.
My Tia Chavety lost her son last year, one of my dear cousins…who was a (remarkable) chef by trade.
He was a wonderful chef and artist of food and just about everything else.
So this loss was quite hard for her (and us)and she had a couple other hardships with two other of her grown children.
At that time, for whatever reason, possibly her grieving…she distanced herself from the family.
My mom and my other Tia were heartbroken. My mom even tried reaching out to my Tia Chavety, but for some reason my aunt was just not ready.
After a few drinks on Saturday the mention of taking my Tia Chavety tamales was brought up.
Everyone kind of joked who would take them since they might get turned away.
Since having had my share of rum…I volunteered to do it…being that I was once her favorite niece.
So I went and she received me with open arms. It was a lovely visit and I told her how we all missed her and we talked about misunderstandings and stubbornness.
I really tried to convince her to come and visit my mom and my other aunt since they only live less than 2 miles away and she got a bit suspicious as to my motives like saying “who sent you?”
But I reassured her that I’ve been writing a lot about my memories of childhood and how much that involved her and her cooking with her sisters and how much her sisters love and miss her.
Many of my uncles and aunts have passed already and it’s just the 3 sisters now.
She didn’t relent and I didn’t push any further and we talked about my late cousin and other family…then I went on my way with a promise of another visit.
So, fast forward to December 21st…I get a text with this picture attached….
Yes, it’s my aunt surprising my mom with a visit and them tearfully hugging.
My son, who also went with me to visit my Tia, called me to say that my aunt walked in and my mom was very shocked and called out to her “MI HERMANA” (MY SISTER!).
I really wished I could’ve been there.
I guess the moral to this story is to not let misunderstandings and time passed keep you from being with loved ones.
Life is way too short. We really shouldn’t wait for sentimental holidays or funerals to reunite…but I’m not going to be picky.
Is there someone in your life that you had a falling out with…and now don’t even remember why?
Would you regret not extending yourself to this person if they were to die today??
Sorry to get so heavy…but I’m in a heavy mood…(maybe because I ate so many tamales this year).
Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Meant for this post to be submitted the day it happened, but it’s been crazy since Thanksgiving.
Better late than never..