Jessa sat outside on the front steps. The house was just too crowded. She loved her family, she really did, but sometimes they were just too much. Today was one of those days.
Her grandmothers were fussing in the kitchen. Each trying to make sure that the recipes used were their recipes, each knew that they were the best cook and the other grandmother, bless her, tried but…
Her uncles were hovering over the tequila never more than arms reach away. Her little cousins were doing the same with the candy dish. Everyone has their vices.
And why did everyone have to bring their pets? The house was full of dogs and cats and even a couple of birds. It really was just too much.
But family is family and she did love hers. A little bit longer and she would go back in. Just a quick rest was all she needed.
She could hear the music starting now. Her grandfather on her father’s side had been a band leader back in his day. Music was the most important thing to him. Loud music. With a lot of horns.
So many people trying to dance in the crowded living room. Or trying to get a taste of the green chile stew, the posole, the tamales steaming in their husks. Shots of tequila and rum lining the bar. Sugared treats decorated and ready.
Everyone was here. Everyone came. It was so crowded. Just a few more minutes and she would go back in.
“Jessa? Jessa come help me set up the pinata!”
And that was her call. Break time was over. She stood up and brushed off her dress. She was wearing bright purple. It was her sister’s favorite and so she wore it for her today.
Weaving her way through the crowded house toward the kitchen and out to the back yard she passed generation after generation of family. Smiling and blowing kisses. Sharing happy memories with each.
There were just so many. It was just so crowded. So much family in a small space. She loved them, she really did, but there were just so many. Why couldn’t she have come from a small family?
Making her way to her mother in the back yard where the rest of the family waited to eat and to celebrate. Her mother smiled at her. “Don’t look so stressed, we are blessed to have so much family.”
She smiled again, “I know. It’s just so crowded in there.”
Her mother nodded, “Yes, but it’s only once a year that everyone can come. So enjoy them for today.”
And so she did. She ate and danced and drank. She shared memories with family. She ate and drank and danced some more. She cheered when the little ones broke open the pinata and were showered with candy skulls.
But she also was grateful when the clock stuck 12 and November 1 passed for another year. She loved her family, she really did, but there were just so many of them…