7:10 PM

Tonite my family celebrated a birthday dinner for Zach at the Butcher Shop - a long-standing favorite of my family. We were seated at our usual really long table and once our orders were placed, commenced our usual chatter and buzz. There is never a shortage of things to discuss, particularly with Anna's baby due in about 4 weeks and Lauren & Josh's little Sawyer to pass around. Plus, Michael has now flown the nest and has a house with another guy, is working as a teacher and we never see him anymore. So it's voices streaming in and under and around and over, all while I play Mommy, trying to make sure my kids are happy and eating something, but not stuffing their faces with JUST bread. And mostly trying to make sure August doesn't actually manage to reach my plate, grab my steak and shove it in his mouth! He's wily like that.

Sometime during the evening, Brooklyn found a friend. She always does. In fact, it's rare to leave anyplace without having made at least a new acquaintance. And that's true for me as well as her! Next thing I know, Brooklyn and her new little friend, a girl named Marina, are sharing a booth and just chattering away like little birds. They're squealing and huddling shoulders together and grinning and they've known each other for years. Turns out, they are only a few days apart in age. Turns out Marina has a little brother who's a few months older than August. Turns out her mom and I hit it off, too! Turns out she's Brazilian and her mom had joined her and her husband for dinner that evening. Turns out my brother, Michael, is pretty fluent in Portuguese as well as Spanish and was able to brighten their WHOLE day by conversing with them in their native language! According to MY new friend, Izabela, Michael's pretty darn amazing at Portuguese!

As our parties broke up, my family trickled away to my parent's house to have birthday cake while Kyle and I (plus our kids) and Michael lingered in the parking lot making friends. Michael was learning new Portuguese words, Izabela and I were scrabbling for pens to take down each other's names, numbers and email addresses, and Brooklyn and Marina were twirling. August was trying desperately to keep up with his big sister.

What I found interesting was Izabela's comment that our family - the whole shebang, not just me, Kyle and tots - was more like a Brazilian family than an American family. She commented on the boisterousness, liveliness, love between family members and relaxed attitude towards children. And my extremely social children. She has no idea. :) She said she finds it very unusual to find a family as open, easy-going and willing to interact with whomever's around - apparently that's very Brazilian. Hm, for those who have wondered what's wrong with my family, maybe we're displaced! Maybe we're more Brazilian than we knew! I'm ok with that. I wouldn't want it ANY other way.

For one thing, it expands the boundaries of my world and scoops up anyone standing on the edges and draws them in. I love that. And I find very few people object to being loved and included as part of a gigantic family.

So, to my new friend, Izabela, thank you!

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  1. Well, she has a great name! I would totally name one of my kids that ...oh...wait.

    I love how she spells it too.