Prima Sharon

I took my cousin Sharon to the airport last night.  She came on the day of Maxie's funeral and stayed with us for two weeks.  Although Sharon is the granddaughter of my grandmother's first cousin and I didn't meet her until 2003, she is like a sister.  She is an old soul at 29 years old, always knowing what to say when I need her.  Everyone who meets her loves her and I feel so special that she chooses me to be her friend.

I never heard of cousin Sharon until my second year in graduate school.  I always knew my Grandma Ann had cousins in Mexico City and she had glamorized them to us our whole lives.  When my grandparents met, my grandfather proposed marriage very quickly.  My grandma said that she was in no rush to get married so she told him she couldn't get married until she had visited her cousins in Mexico.  He said, "Great.  We will go there on our honeymoon" and three months later they were married.  I have heard that my grandfather loved the Mexican cousins like they were his own and especially loved "the boys", one of whom was Fernando, Sharon's father.  In 2003 I got a voice mail message from Ceci Halkin (Sharon's mom) that had been left while I was on a school trip to Israel.  They had a few hours to kill at LAX on their way home from Kuala Lampur and were hoping to meet up with my father.  They looked up Fleishman (my maiden name) in the phone book and found my number.  The message was very warm and gave their home number in Mexico.  When I heard the message, I thought I would call.  I had actually already planned a trip to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Peru for a post-graduation adventure and my flight was going through Mexico City.  I figured we could have the visit in the airport that they mentioned.  I called Ceci and she convinced me to stay a few nights in Mexico City, something that made me a little nervous, considering I didn't know any of them.  She explained that she had three daughters - Marion was the oldest (I think she was 26 at the time), then Lily (who was probably 23 or 24) and then the youngest, Sharon (who was 21).  I was 29. 

I arrived at the airport and found a very pretty and put together woman, carrying a sign with my name on it, accompanied by her chauffeur.  We got in the car and she started telling me about her current boyfriend troubles and issues with her studies.  We were friends by the time we got to the house.  Those five days in Mexico were filled with activities.  I went out each night with a different sister (all of them are lovely and sweet), we went to discos and swanky clubs and bars, we had a big fancy family dinner with the whole group, we went to the Pyramids, the Saturdays Bizarre and on a double decker tourist bus that we could get off of and walk around the city and get then back on the next one.  I wondered if my grandmother's idea of glamor was the same as mine. I had NEVER thought so previously, but this family was glamorous.  In a relaxed moment, Sharon and I sat up in the office in her house and rang a bell and the cook, Gueye, took our order for chilaquiles, while we sat around watching TV. AWESOME. 

Sharon is my partner in crime.  She has been to LA many times and knows all of my friends.  She has vacationed with me and any number of them to Costa Rica over the years, a place where we always get into trouble (and I mean that, as anyone who has had to suffer through our Cucaracha story a million times knows) and have the best time making up nicknames for our new friends and eating late night disco chicken (literally setting the alarm for 2 am so we can go to the disco and eat their chicken).  She was in LA and I left her to go to San Diego for my second date with Ted.  She was in Israel with Ted and I when we got engaged and we were in Mexico City last summer when I was pregnant with Max.  She came to visit in December, when Max was 2 months and then again in April (she surprised me) for Passover.  She loves Ted too....from the beginning, he won her heart when he came to LA for our third date and brought her some cotton candy after I told him a sad story of her losing the cotton candy the day before that I made her wait hours to buy at Disneyland.  She lets all of us Gringos imitate her beautiful accent and laughs while we all make asses out of ourselves.  She smiles big for every camera she sees (even when the camera man is on the side of a rock, next to a giant class 4 rapid, while the rest of us are paddling for life). Everyone agrees that she is so so funny.  She gave us our one really big laugh last week when she yelled "SUCK IT!" at the Bachelorette's sister during the "Final Rose" episode that we watched to numb our brains. 

Sharon sent me a text the day before Maxie died telling me that her grandfather had passed that day.  I actually can't remember if I wrote back to tell her what was happening with us or if she heard it through one of our friends.  Even though her immediate family was sitting shiva and experiencing an enormous amount of grief, she got on the plane and came here to be with us.  We are so grateful to the Halkins for lending us their youngest daughter.  She helped to get me through the first two weeks of hell with lots of love, patience and kindness.  Te amo prima!

1 comment

40licious said...

My heart is broken for you. I can't do anything but sit here in tears while looking at that sweet sweet boy and I can't even begin to imagine your grief.

I am so sorry and hope you find peace somewhere, somehow. You will have a lot of prayers from people you don't know.