Picture a telenovela. You know, like the ones you see on Telemundo or Univision, filled with over-the-top dialogue, intrigue, “dum, dum, duuummm” music in the background, people hiding in the shadows, families who make big entrances and exits, sometimes riding horses (why do they all ride horses?…one never knows…), and countless maids and pool boys.
Now, picture my family.
Although we’re from “the islands” and we have “flava“, we are not nearly as dramatic and made for television, although “80+ year-old aunt” (see below) is making me think seriously otherwise. We are a jovial people, a loving people, a complex people, a strong-minded people. We. are. people.
So, while you’re here on this blog, and if you follow me on Twitter (I keep plugging this Twitter feed because I’m obsessed, and fair warning, I sometimes tweet a lot — just sayin’), you’ll often see me identify members of La Familia (that’s ‘The Family’). This list is in no way shape or form exhaustive. Please, if you have seen our Geni profile, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s a quick guide:
The main players are…
- Me: “The Brainy Pint Sizer”
- My mother: “Reds” or “The West Indian Mother” or “Cooking & Baking Queen” (My mother occasionally freezes and mails my meals sending them by postal service or she’ll package them into a ‘care cooler’ and send them with “Road Warrior” (below). Don’t hate, people. Yes, my mother sends me food.)
- My grandmother*: “The Matriarch” (the knower of all things, the holder of the keys to La Familia, the one who lays on the guilt so thickly it’s like 80s peanut butter that ripped the bread each time you tried to spread it — hence her backup name: “The Jewish Grandmother”)
- My grandmother’s youngest sister*: “Sassy Spitfire”. She’s also identified as my “85-year-old aunt” (She lives in the Bronx. She says things that sometimes has me speechless…kind of in shock…like an Oh. My. God. moment. Hilarious.)
- My grandmother’s other sister, she’s a year younger than her*: “Second Mother” (She helped raise me and resides in a nursing home with dementia. I try to visit her often.)
- My uncle: “Road Warrior” (The boss man doesn’t like to fly…and if we could find a way to economically drive to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014, we would.)
- My aunt, his wife: “The Shopping Lawyer” (and there’s another name I’ve used for her sometimes, but I can’t remember…I’ll update when I do…)
- My cousin, their daughter: “Just Call Her Fabulous”, “The Diva” or “The Shoe Shopper” (She has many names, so don’t hold me to any of these.)
My Nueva York (that’s ‘New’ York) crew includes…
- My second cousin: “The Traveler” (I keep telling him, his calling was to work for the airlines. There’s not a plane or ship this man doesn’t love.)
- His daughter: “The Purple Princess” (She wants to be a teacher and she’ll be great. Parents, watch out because she is a gem.)
- Her brother: “The Kid” (The Kid is tall — I’m not kidding…really tall.)
Now, the Southern Branch…(“Reds” lives in the south, too, and so does “The Matriarch”, as well as others who split their time between the north and the south)…
- My uncle, who loves cars: “The Collector of Cars” (but I can also call him: “Car Collector”)
- His wife, my aunt: “The Nurse” (she’s a calming force…really and truly)
- My cousin, their daughter, who’s only a few years younger than me: “Lil’ Sis”
- My cousin, their son and brother of “Lil’ Sis”: “The CFO”**
- His wife: “The Southern Bomb”**
- Their daughter, my god-daughter: “The Mini Diva” (People, she’s going to do big things in this life, as long as we keep her on the straight and narrow and hitting the books. Focus. It’s all about focus.)**
- Their son: “The Guy” (He is the best. He’s also a guy of few words, but when he speaks, it’s a little bit of high-pitched mouse…Yes, I’m waiting for the day his voice changes.)**
- My cousin, the brother of “Lil’ Sis” and “The CFO”: “Solid”
Of course, we can’t forget those in “the islands” who include…
- The cousins, collectively identified as: “The island cousins”
- There’s one exception, who I simply call: “Cuzin” (She loves, loves, loves to read and has a wonderful hubby and two beautiful little girls.)
- My aunt and uncle who has always made me feel at home in their home from the time I was a child: “The Couple”
Then, the folks north of the border…yes, that’s Canada, one in particular…
- My aunt: “The Flight Attendant” (She’s the best Canadian auntie ever!)
There are many, many, many more, but I’m stopping here. These are the ones you will see mentioned more often than not.
- And I also have a BFF who I’ll either identify as “BFF” or “Momma Rockstar” — she’s got a terrific husband and three beautiful children, one of whom is my niece, who I lovingly call: “The Princessa“.
*Above: Regarding my grandmother and her two sisters…collectively, they have always been known as “The Golden Girls”…Three women, three distinct personalities.
**Above: And also collectively, The CFO, The Southern Bomb, The Mini Diva and The Guy are known as: “The Sequel”.