Nowhere does the old adage "Time flies" apply more aptly than with children, as I was reminded last evening when I attended the Quinceañero celebration for Melanie, a young Tica lass we know. As you may know, the Quinceañero is a special birthday in Latin culture. Held on the fifteenth birthday, it marks a girl's passage from childhood to young womanhood and is celebrated with a grand party. But I had no idea just how grand my young friend's festivities would be, nor did I realize what a beautiful young muchacha she has become.
|Beautiful Melanie, now 15 years old|
Layne and I met Melanie three years ago when we lived in Barrio Los Angeles where her mom Cidia was our weekly housekeeper. On occasions such as holidays when school was out, Cidia would bring 12-year-old Melanie along with her for the few hours she spent cleaning our house. At the time Melanie was just a cute little girl, shy but friendly, with stunning dark eyes set off by a creamy tan complexion. She would watch TV or read and when I learned she liked puzzles, I would give her ones I had finished. Although neither of them spoke English, we became friends with Cidia and got to know little Melanie. When we needed to communicate beyond my Spanish, Melanie's older sister Karen could translate with her excellent English skills. When we moved from that house to Santa Eulalia two years ago, Cidia, Melanie and her dad gave us good-bye gifts they had made, earrings for me by Cidia, a wooden tray the father had hand-crafted and a decorated bottle made by Melanie. We treasure their friendship even though we have few opportunities to see them now.
|The doll matches Melanie's dress!|
|A three-tiered cake marks the occasion|
|Melanie and Cidia|
|Mom, Dad and Melanie|
But by chance Cidia saw me at the feria last Friday and invited me to Melanie's Quinceañero to be held the very next day. And what a fabulous event it was! Held at a large hall in Barrio Los Angeles with tables and chairs along both sides of the building, profusely decorated with purple and white balloons, with colored balls covered in hearts and butterflies hanging from the ceiling, matching table decor, throbbing lights and pounding music, it was a bigger party than I expected. When Melanie made her grand entrance through the balloon archway in her amethyst ball gown, sparkling tiara in her dark hair, jewels around her neck, walking with her mom and dad, I got choked up. How had the little girl we knew grown into such a glamorous and elegant young woman in only three years?! Well, time flies, I guess.
|First dance with Dad|
Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for much of the party because Winston was at home alone and he is still young enough that being alone at night is scary for him. According to our neighbors, he howls. So after Melanie's first dance with her dad and the toast to her Quinceañero, I made my excuses and taxied home. But it was a joy and an honor to be included with the extended family for this very special occasion.
Tomorrow night will be another special occasion for me -- Layne is coming home from Oregon, almost two weeks early! The sad reason for this good news is that the family finally had to find a memory care facility for his sister due to the inexorable progress of the Alzheimer's. Since the home care Layne had been helping with was no longer required, he was able to leave Portland early. We were again fortunate to find a flight using the airline miles we had so with just a small change fee, he got a flight. Winston and I are very excited.
And since I know an update on little Winston is probably in order for his many "fans," I made this rather bumpy video the other day; it's hard to keep up with the little rascal.
As you can see he is growing like the proverbial weed and greatly enjoys running like a raving maniac and playing viciously with his toys. Layne will hardly recognize him from just two weeks ago, but I know Winston will be overjoyed to see Layne, as will I.
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