(in the kitchen, getting ready to start the day)
Hank: How was your night, Akika? (the name Prima was given by Molly who couldn’t and still can’t say Monica)
Prima: It was nice. Although, my god, I cried so much. I talked with my sister and the first thing she said was, “Are you coming home in April.”
Me: (wince) Oh, that’s hard.
Hank: She misses you.
Prima: So I explained to her that when she is on vacation we can meet here and on my vacation I can go there but she is so smart…
Me: How old is she again?
Prima: She is eight. She is so smart. She just gets it. She said, “Yes, but then you will always be there and we will always be here and we won’t be together again.”
Me: It’s hard when your big sister leaves home. I still remembered how crushed I was when my brother went away to school and I was 15! And when you left last summer your intention was to go back.
Prima: Exactly, I didn’t know I would get a job and an apartment and…
Hank: A Pedro! (Prima’s boyfriend)
Me: (chuckling into my coffee)
Me: That is that hardest part about moving away. Most Portuguese choose to stay close to their family. Family is so important and supportive in your culture. Hank and I understand this since we moved here. I moved a lot in my life, but the ocean makes a big difference. It is easier now with connecting by text and apps and email and video chat.
Prima: And my sister has a tablet now so I told her how to get in touch with me whenever she needs me. (deep sigh)
Me: There are always those who tug on your heartstrings. It doesn’t mean you love them more than the rest of your friends and family there are just those people who you are connected to on another level and the missing is the hardest with them.
Hank: Yah, like how I miss Josita. I love all of my other familyand our friend-family and my Grammy and Grandpa Snitch and my cousin Coley, but I miss her a lot.
Me: The leaving is the hardest with those who are tied forever to your heart, but life carries on and those strings stretch quite far and from time to time you feel a tug letting you know when you or they need a message or a letter or a phone call or a hug sent across the continent or the sea.
Molly: (toddling into the kitchen with a plastic water pitcher full of doll house furniture and tiny dolls) Good Morning! Good morning, Mano (brother). Good morning, Akika (Prima).
Together: (collectively wish Molly an equally good morning)
Molly: Mama, me sit down. Mama, sai (leave). Me sit down.
Me: (being evicted from the step stool where I had been sitting sipping coffee most of the morning) Um, excuse me?
Molly: Excuse me, peas mama. Peeeeaaaasss! Excuse me. (nodding, pointing to the step stool)
Hank: She’s not bossy.
Prima: She’s the boss.
Me: (getting up to get my day started, feigning indignation) Well, I never.
Molly: Tank you. I luf you, mama.
Me: Well, in that case. (kissing the top of her head)
Hank: (finishing packing his lanche (snack) for school)
Prima: (finishing packing her almoço (lunch) for work)
Molly: (setting up her dolly tableau)
Me: (looking back from the doorway to the laundry room beaming at my wonderful family) Absolute last call for laundry! If I don’t have your cuacas (underwear) in two seconds they will stay stinking up your rooms for the rest of the day.
Hank: Oh! (dashing off)
Prima: One second. (dashing off)
Molly: (chattering to her dollies about this and that, having yet no concept of what cuecas (underwear) are)