then comes Itzel …

We hurriedly put things away and then make the short drive to Katia’s rental home. The ever smiling Aracely greets us at the gate, unlocks it and waves us in. Itzel and Angeles run to greet us while Mateo, awaking from a nap on the sofa, sighs a sleepy sounding “it’s grandma”. After visiting for awhile and drawing rainbows on the fence wall, and entertaining ourselves watching the now quite awake Mateo chasing the girls (mostly Angeles who waits for him to make the first move before engaging in the chase), the three girls are lined up in order of age; shed their play clothes, and one by one, are washed and rinsed and shampooed and rinsed again, in the outdoor shower. With the smallest of the dark eyed beauties wrapped in a huge towel, I carry her in to her bedroom, and here Abuelita Maria takes over. She finishes the drying process, hands Angeles her clean unders, slathers her with lotion from head to toe, picks out her outfit with suggestions from the little one. As I carry Itzel into the house for step two, Angeles is burrowing through a little box of hair adornments and awaits mama Katia’s arrival after finishing the shower routine for Aracely. Katia then sits at the table and starts on the dark curly hair of Angeles, styling and placing hair trims here and there to perfect the halo of curls. Itzel is next with a sideways ponytail and her ever present grin. Aracely is older and has a little more input, but enjoys mama brushing her long, thick hair. Mateo is freshened up and new clothes are donned. Marluce follows Mateo with her tiny brown curls combed perfectly and an itty bitty purple headband put into place. This entire process plays out like a well rehearsed scene from a play. Then Katia moves to her bedroom brushing her beautiful mane of hair and putting on some makeup, and that is when it hits me; This is the Friday afternoon getting ready for the arrival of: dad or daddy to Mateo, da da da to Marluce, and Papa Rick to the three older girls.

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