Donde Cabe Uno, Caben Dos: Life Lessons for Adult Children

Donde cabe un mexicano caben cien. That was the variation of this popular dicho we grew up with. I think in actually it’s supposed to go something like this: donde cabe uno, caben dos. This weekend while we were working on the house we all lived in for nine years with my parents I couldn’t help but be reminded of this popular saying over and over again. The house has been in the family for a long time and for reasons that I won’t even begin to go into ahorita está en un completo estado de desmadre.

Padre e hijo

Suffice it to say when you get a renter make sure you know who you are renting to.  A lot easier said than done.  But hopefully now we’ve learned a very valuable lesson.

Anyway, when we came back from vacation, from making all of those great memories and spending so much quality time together, we had to face the reality that there was a whole lot of time and money that was going to be required to get this house back into shape.  Estabamos un poco dumbfounded at the bad luck.  I mean we hadn’t even taken a real vacation in years, but as they taught me in French class c’est la vie.  So off we went planning and budgeting to try to make things happen as soon as possible.  The very first thing we had to do was replace the back fence on the property.

Okay.  No problem!  Only contractors want way too much money to put up the fence and I haven’t the slightest clue about how to do it myself.  The last time I tried my fence started out pretty even on one side and progressively became more slanted along the 48 feet of property we had to cover.  By the time I noticed it was coming out crooked ya estaba bien cansado and my response was “oh well, fudge it,” which in hindsight is probably one of the main reasons we’re having to do it all over again… only this time under the supervision of mi papá.  I’d kind of been hinting around about him helping me, and by that I mean talking to my mom about it (she seems to have a way of getting him to do things, lol), without coming out and directly saying “can you help me?”

No sé porqué pero como me daba cosa to ask my dad who’s already in his sixties to give me a hand.  Finally, I just broke down and asked him.  He, of course, said yes.

The plan was that we’d show up on Sunday and knock out the fence in one day.  Go ahead and laugh.  It’s okay.  Llegamos temprano, and we started right off digging the holes for the 4×4’s we would need to put in to support the new fence – after we had already knocked down the old one.  My luck, desde luego, was that out of all of the rainless-drought-inducing days we’d had this summer – and we’ve had plenty believe me – this particular Sunday was the one day the rain would not let up.  Entre breaks in the heavy down pouring we tried our best to get as much done as we possibly could.  We did it… well at least put in the 4×4’s that is, but by the end of the day our shoes and pants were covered in mud, we’d both slipped in the mud trying to work, every single item of clothing we were wearing was drenched in very cold water, including my chones, and now we were facing the dilemma of how to cover up 48 feet of a barren property line.

We figured that one out too, and despite my complete exhaustion at the end of the night when I hit the bed, I was happier than I had been in a long time.  As a kid I’d always been more of a momma’s boy and rarely went out to do real hard labor with my father.  That was my older brother’s job and he was good at it.  Besides when was I ever going to need to know how to do all that stuff?  DOH!  This weekend, though, I really felt like we were making up for lost time.  No pude evitar feeling a little sad about having missed out on all this father-son comradery, but as we were working, having an actual conversation and telling jokes, I couldn’t help but feel a little extra joy in my heart.  I still feel it today, and the fact that we have to go back and work on it some more this week doesn’t even bother me at all.

In fact, I’m actually looking forward to it.

I might not be a kid anymore, but hey… it’s never too late to make up for lost time!

4 thoughts on “Donde Cabe Uno, Caben Dos: Life Lessons for Adult Children

  1. I like the sincerity in this one, Juan. I can tell it really came from the heart. Sometimes I feel sad about bonding moments I missed out on for whatever reason – but as adults we can still make memories with our parents, and now with our own children. Maybe it isn’t quite the same, but it’s good in its own way.

    1. Thanks, Tracy! I’d been meaning to write this for a few days and when I finally sat down in front of my computer the words just started flowing… that’s the thing, for me, when I really want to say something the words just come out almost on their own. Glad you enjoyed it and could relate… it really never is too late to try and bond with the people we love, especially when we still have these individuals in our lives.

    1. Gracias, Rosa… and valga la redundancia en dichos, you know what they say “there’s no point crying over spilled milk!” Not that I didn’t appreciate your tears. Made me feel real proud of this piece. Thank you for the comment 🙂

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