Mario is going to Visit my cousin Ugo in California today. I call him U.G.O. because so many people say his name back to him with a question mark like they did not say it correctly. So I just spell it out. That is my nickname for him. My Dad called him Girrard, I am not really sure why? I will have to ask him. He hated when the Yugo cars came out because everyone confused his name with the cars name. What is even funnier is his sister’s name is Sienna and there is a car named after her as well, too funny. Dad’s nickname for her is Piggy, too cute. Anyway, I love U.G.O. He is so much more than my cousin. He is my friend, my confidant (I think that is the same thing as a friend but I tell him things I dont tell anyone else), Marissa’s godfather and he ups my cool factor (he is really cool and I am not). I love him.
I am grateful to Dad for fostering this relationship. I mean family is family but family is not always close. You know what I mean? My Dad worked hard on making sure we grew up with our family in California and spent lots of time making memories and creating bonds that distance could never break. My parents divorced when I was very young but my Dad was ever present in our lives and made sure his family was as well. As an adult and a parent I can now look back and see what an effort it was but as a child he made it appear seamless and effortless. Every summer he took all 4 of us for long visits to California to spend time with the family. There were endless phone calls and letters back and forth. He brought U.G.O. out to visit us for magical vacations. He kept us updated on each others lives and celebrated every milestone together.
My Dad was very close to his sister, my Auntie. They had a very loving, special and funny relationship, a lot of laughs. My Dad had not lived in California for years and years but was in constant contact with his sister. My Dad had files and files of funny notes and letters they sent back and forth to each other. He had nothing but love and respect for his sister. As adults U.G.O. and I have built the same relationship. We talk often and work at keeping each other involved in our daily life’s. We learned how to be family from the best, My Dad and his Mom. So, my children love their cousins Ugo and Sienna as much as I do. As a matter of fact Mario did not even tell me of his trip to spend time with U.G.O. until it was a done deal. He even bought his own ticket! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, HE BOUGH HIS OWN TICKET! I just know that somewhere my Dad is loving this and very happy. He might not believe Mario bought his own ticket and want to see proof but none the less I know he is smiling.
A thought. If I had to best describe my relationship with U.G. O. it would be this. The night before Dad’s surgery I called my Dad to tell him I loved him. My Dad kept the phone conversation brief and told me “Skunk, I got this.’ He also told me he loved me and not to worry. I hung up the phone and burst into tears. I sat at my kitchen table in despair and rocked back and forth thinking over and over again “What do I do?, What do I do”. I really did not know what to do with what I was feeling. The phone rang and not wanting to talk to anyone I looked at the Caller I.D. It was U.G.O. I will never know how he knew that what I needed most at that exact moment was to talk to my cousin.
Mario is going to visit U.G.O. today and this makes me and my Dad very happy.