familia / how to know when you've become a member

This last weekend, la familia got together and we had such a good time that I told myself I'd write about it.  The thing is, we always have a good time and this weekend wasn't really any different from before, which is special in its own way.  Not ever family is like this and I'm so used to the way we interact and how we are with each other that I forget to notice the little things, but this particular day served as a great reminder.

Brandon and I texted Mamita and let her know that we'd be about an hour late, joking that "...it should be ok; every one's always late, anyway."  Well, I sort of forgot to mention that, about a month ago, we had started a new Paleo  diet  lifestyle and that it's been really working for us.  Anywho, we got there (first), and everyone swam while Brandon and I watched Switchblade, 'cause I'd never seen it before, and then it was time to eat.


We explained to Mamita the limitations of our new lifestyle and how, though I would gladly cheat and partake in the delicious food she'd made, Brandon would not.  He told her not to worry about it, whispered to me that he'd just wait 'til afterward to grab some grilled chicken somewhere, then sat back down to continue feeding his Jetpack Joyride addiction on the iPad.  Mamita, on the other hand, would never let anything like that fly.  With all the speed and sneakiness of a mother-ninja, she began cooking something else specifically for Brandon and holy globs did it smell great. Everyone else noticed, of course, and started lining up to serve themselves, but Mamita turned them all away - no one was allowed to touch that particular dish until Brandon had served himself.

Now, in reading this, I know that a lot of my close friends are going "Well that's not surprising - we'd all do the same thing," and it's true and I absolutely love you for it.  However, the truth is that some families out there wouldn't.  Some families out there aren't as open-minded as mine and not every gay guy is able to introduce his better half to the family as the better half, much less have him over for dinner and have mom make a special meal just for him.

And way back when, he was nervous about meeting her... ha!

Remember when we met?  It was the 29th of December, just a few days after Christmas... and a couple of days before New Year's.  Naturally, I invited him to celebrate the holiday with my family, because all of his family was back in Georgia and I didn't want him to spend it alone.  Also, we'd just shacked up, so if I was going to a party, it didn't make sense for me to go alone.  Brandon, therefore, got to meet my entire Mexican family all at once.

All of them.  I'm not just talking the usuals, typically consisting of two uncles, an aunt, a cousin, my brother, my grandmother, my mother and each of their immediate families.  New Year's is one of those holidays where the extended members come out to play.  I mean, I honestly don't even know all of their first names.  There were cousins of cousins wearing cowboy hats, orange leather boots and matching belts, and what we like to call tan-tan music, because we don't want them to feel left out, but they won't dance to boogie music with the usuals. That was the day Brandon got to meet everyone, but he made it through unscathed!  Terrified, but unscathed!

I remember sitting together for dinner that night when both my Gramma and tia Shivis commented on how much of a super cutie Brandon was and how lucky I was to have snagged him.  My tios immediately took to Brandon, too, 'cause he was the supercool nephew that Josh and I never were - he could quote Tombstone along with them, talk cars and sports, etc.  But Mamita just smiled politely and welcomed him as she would any friend of mine.  See, she didn't know anything about Brandon except that I'd immediately moved in and almost flown off without telling her.

Every one's always taken a quick liking to Brandon, though, and my mother never stood a chance against those baby-blues of his.  He'd ask me, "How will I know if your mom likes me?" and I would reassure him that there was no way she couldn't: "She always compares my brother and me to each other, not because we're not as good at something or whatever, but because the other one is setting a better example.  One day, she'll do the same with you.  You're the better of all of us! You're a master-level chef, you've lived alone, and you've accomplished a lot for someone your age.  You'll see."

A short time later, we're all hanging out one day, when Mamita casually says something like "Ay, Givito" (that's me), "you need to help Brandon cook sometimes!  You can't let him do all the work."  And it was done.  He immediately gasped and looked at me, face beaming, knowing that with those few words, she'd officially made him an honorary Mexican and cemented his place within my family's hearts for all eternity.

la familia playing Lotería together

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