Building Bridges from Galveston to Mexico Part II

Building Bridges from Galveston to Mexico Part I can be found at:

 A Wedding Unites Our Families

When we received notice that our daughter would get married in Mexico, we immediately decided that we would attend.  Whatever it would take to be there for Luisa Irais and her husband, we would make it happen.  My husband’s work schedule is notoriously difficult to work around, but our daughter was so lovely and understanding.  The wedding was planned to coincide with the two week break in his schedule.  Gathering the items necessary to travel was a challenge that was left to me.  I didn’t mind at all.  Traveling is second nature to me.  It’s my thing.

I assembled all the required paperwork to apply for passports.  Everything had to be expedited due to our time constraints.  But I knew that all the sacrifice and effort would be worth it so our precious daughter could see us at her wedding.  I was also excited to meet her mom and the dad who helped raise her.  They were an important part our our trip too.  My children wondered how everyone would feel when we met.  I was never worried for one second.  You see, for years I had prayed for this family we were about to meet.  For years I had prepared a special place in my heart for them.

I imagined giving them hugs and explaining to them how much I cared about our daughter.  Together, we would help this young couple begin their new life filled with the love of their family.  It was a huge responsibility and honor to connect our families and heal the tears of the past.   Everything turned out so perfectly.  Our passports arrived on time.  We changed the tires on the mini-van and made sure it was serviced for the road trip.  My husband got back on a Wednesday evening and we packed up the van on Thursday.

Packing…well, there is an art and a science to packing for the family and then loading up the van.  My years of travel experience, moving between countries, and growing up in a military family make me an expert.  I watched my mom’s technique when we traveled and have now taught my 13-year-old the technique. (She it a fantastic partner for this task!) Together, we organized the packing of the van and used my required check list to make sure everything was included. The process is like putting together an intricate puzzle.  The children practiced motor planning skills, simple physics, visual/spatial planning, and language comprehension as Isabella and I directed the project.

Finally, we were ready to hit the road!  We drove as far as we could that first night before stopping to rest.  Our traveling bunch arrived in Juarez, Mexico the next evening.  We waited across the Bridge of the Americas for our daughter and her husband to arrive so they could show us how to get to their home.  It was an emotional reunion for my husband and his daughter.  He had not seen her in seven years.  All of us embraced and had a happy introduction.  We spend the next two days exploring Juarez and getting to know each other.  The food was amazing and the children enjoyed some fun amusement park rides, like go carts (me too…fun!) and zip lining.

On Sunday, we prepared for the Wedding.  We drove to the church and got out of the van.  I reached Maria, Luisa Irais’s mother, and we embraced. The feeling of joy was amazing.  Then I watched with a happy heart as my husband hugged the mother of his daughter.  I saw Luisa Irais’s father and introduced myself.  It seemed the most natural thing in the world to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  We introduced our children, Isabella, Nathan, and Sebastien.  The wedding was so beautiful and the reception dinner after the ceremony was also impressive. (We love Mexican food!)  Watching our daughter exchange vows with the love of her life was an amazing experience.

Even though I am not fluent in Spanish, I feel like I was able to make a connection and did my best to communicate.  Love and respect is a universal language we can all share.  An exchange of emotions and hugs transcends any language barrier.  I feel blessed that my children had the opportunity to observe love, hope, forgiveness, and faith expressed through our family’s interactions.    God was truly present in our lives on this trip and in the exchange of vows at Luisa Irais’s and Monolo’s Wedding.

Manolo’s family are lovely people, too.  They were so gracious and I appreciated that they made an effort to talk to us.  I am happy we had a chance to meet each other. The night before we left, everyone came together for a cook out and shared time together.  I enjoyed learning some new words and really tried to communicate with family and friends.  I want to learn more Spanish before our next trip! We had a hard time saying farewell to our family in Mexico, but look forward to planning our next visit.

This photo was a gift from our beautiful new family.  Thank you to Luisa Irais’s mother and father for this wonderful gift from the heart.  You will always be in our prayers!

Our Family ~ Wedding of Luisa Irais and Manolo

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