(This article is a part of our series on Inspiring Stories and is a gracious contribution by Suzanne Rico from SuzanneRico.com. Please contact me if you have a great story to share with our fine parents community!)
When the wind blows from the east in the town where I live in Southern Spain—called a Levante—and the tide from the Bay of Cadiz pushes back up the Rio Guadalete, the strong smell of sewer wafts from our bathroom’s ancient pipes. Since this is a windy area and our apartment is small, I bark at my children if they leave the door ajar and then feel guilty about my bad mood; they have done a better job at adjusting to living in a place that smells like crap than I have.
We moved to Spain last summer after my mom died from cancer. It was an impulsive decision, spurred by a grief so great I felt I had no choice but to try to outrun it. My husband understood that the memories in every corner of our house in Los Angeles–where we had brought my mom to live when she got sick–were salt on an open wound and went along willingly. But our two boys, who were five and seven years old at the time, didn’t have a choice.
We moved from our large, comfortable suburban home into a faded but still grand Spanish palacio in the middle of an old port town famous for being the place where Christopher Columbus once sailed for the Americas. My sister Stephanie had moved there two years earlier with her two pre-teen daughters and husband, a surgeon for the U.S. Navy, and had managed to secure for use the last bit of space in her building—a small, charming cluster of rooms with no kitchen and only a half bath. [Read more…]