It’s hard to believe that in two months we will be departing to Iran, our new home for the next few years. The clock is ticking, there is so much to prepare before departure but what is harder are the goodbyes particularly when it comes to family.
It was time to fly to my country and once again experience a wealth of emotions. The happiness of seeing everybody once more, the family gatherings, the laughter but also the sadness and tears to have to bid farewell yet again.
But this time I wanted it to be even more special. As we get older and enter new decades, you realize you should enjoy as much as you can the company of the people you really love.
Knowing my birthday will be in Iran this year, I wanted to celebrate in my country before. Not my birthday in particular as they say it’s bad luck but a celebration of life, my life entering a new phase and that of my sisters who have been there for me in different ways.
We are six siblings, four of which are girls. Being the youngest made me witness the departure of all, one by one, moving on to their new lives until it was also my turn to leave. Every departure was a heartbreak, I missed them all, in particular the girls.
Portugal, our country, continues to be the base of our encounters although three of us girls live abroad. But we seldom find ourselves at the same time in the same place. We each lead different lives and vacation time seldom coincides.
So this time I wanted to make it work. I wanted to have a celebration where the four of us would spend a full day together without husbands or children. Unfortunately my sister who lives in Scotland could not make it this time. I was sad but she promised to be with us in thought. Luckily, my sister living in Africa could come. She is generously always ready to go anywhere when it matters the most and I’m very grateful for that. As I am of my sister who lives in Portugal, my mother’s rock who always welcomes us by opening her house and her heart when we visit.
We started the day at a beautiful spa in a town where my father had worked at the local Courthouse as a young man. Laughter started as soon as we arrived be it about what to wear to the jacuzzi or how to take the perfect picture so as not to look fat or wrinkled. We had a great time and talked about everything and about our family.
Each of us seemed to have different pieces of the family puzzle that when brought together made our history much clearer. It is amazing what you can find out when you join different memories. Memories are tricky and often you realize there is much more to a story.
Being together, relaxing and just talking made me think how much I missed these moments. You are usually so busy living your life that you forget how you shared so many moments of your life with your siblings. You laughed, learned, cried, played, ate, shared so much.
So getting that day with my sisters, sharing memories, nice food, lots and lots of laughter, was the best celebration I could have.
After Jacuzzi, pedicures, shopping and getting lost several times, we finished the evening in the restaurant where my father, as his younger self enjoyed so many meals, probably having similar food and admiring the same views. We had chosen a different restaurant but somehow fate or him brought us back to this lovely square. We drank to his health and although he is no longer with us, we felt his presence and his spirit.
I believe he would have approved of us rekindling our family ties and taking the time to spend this special day together in each other’s company.
I will forever remember it. Thank you Gina and Luisa, I love you and hope we will have many more days when we can celebrate life together. To Mena, we hope you will join us next time.
You can’t live forever but you can take the time and spend it with the people you love.