Yesterday I Was…Today I Am

Today is my birthday.  I am forty-six years old.

Yesterday I was forty-five and my second GCE (see below) was born.  Her name is Sophia Alexa and she’s going to change the world.  

Yesterday I was forty-three, my first GCE (grandchild equivalent) was born.  His name is Christopher Julian and he’s perfect.  Holding him with his father next to me allowed my wife to capture a picture of our three generations.

Yesterday I was forty-one.  I was diagnosed with a chronic, treatable illness.  I treat it like an annoying roommate you eventually learn to live with. 

Yesterday I was forty.  I celebrated my birthday in Las Vegas with friends and family.  We had t-shirts where my name was spelled with the number 40.  It was very theatrical, very Vegas and loads of fun.  It was one of many times I would use a play on words with my name: Forty Years, Four Decades, Juan Life! 

Yesterday I was thirty-six and my niece Hilary Mary Marie was born.  She is smart, funny and witty.  Mostly, she is a survivor which is an interesting choice of adjective for someone who is only nine years old. 

Yesterday I was thirty.  I was met at work with my office decorated in ‘Over-the-Hill’ paraphernalia and a tombstone with my name on it.  I was devastated and I had an overwhelming feeling of doom.  The feeling lasted a day.

Yesterday I was twenty-nine and it was my favorite year. I celebrated my birthday at my cousin Linda’s wedding.

Yesterday I was twenty-four and I married the love of my life, only I didn’t know she was the love of my life yet.  

Yesterday I was twenty-two and I negotiated my first real adult job offer.  I thought I was rich because I had never made so much money in my life. 

Yesterday I was nineteen and my nephew Christopher was born.  My life was changed forever in a way I can’t describe in this small space. 

Yesterday I was seventeen and I graduated from High School.  Amid tears I said goodbye to friends whom I would never see again (until Facebook came along). 

Yesterday I was fourteen and I met the teacher who would make me a writer. 

Yesterday I was twelve and I met the person who would become my very first best friend. 

Yesterday I was eleven.  I wrote my first short story about a boy who could fly. 

Yesterday I was nine and my father died.

Yesterday I was five.  I was running around Charles Street with my cousins Roger & Barbara and my sister, Anna – playing ‘hide and go seek’ at night, going to Palisade Avenue to Doc’s store to get an ice cream cone with chocolate sprinkles, going to the Food Fair with my mother to buy groceries, buying a bag of cherries in the summer from the fruit store or walking to Saints (my grammar school) for the first time. 

Yesterday I was three. I was treated for having a lazy eye at the Pediatric Association in Englewood, New Jersey.   

Yesterday I was fifteen days old and my family and I left Cuba via the Port of Camarioca.   

Yesterday I was born and I met my mother for the first time.

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11 thoughts on “Yesterday I Was…Today I Am

  1. Well, I’m one of those people who has the privilege to have become family by proxy and I love you too. I know you have been having a great birthday weekend because you desserve it…hope to see you again soon!

  2. Thank You for including us in your 40th birthday and hopefully many more to come. Like my daughter would say we are truly blessed to have you in our lives. Happy
    46th Birthday we are having a glass of wine in your honor. Love Maria and Miguelito

    1. I don’t know what blessings truly are but if it means having people who are real and whose affection for you is real, then yes I am very blessed and I hope you feel the same.

  3. Happy Birthday Juan! You are a wonderful friend, husband, son, uncle and godfather. We love you very much…muah!!!!

    1. I was glad to be able to celebrate Gaby’s retirement and my bday with you and the family. You are very special to us both – always.

  4. It isn’t often in your life that you come across a man who has such an impact. As I read through your literay collection about your birthday, it reminded me of all the memories I have of you and your beautiful wife Yvonne. Life of course comes at you fast, time and distance seperate us from those who are dear to us. One thing for certain, it cannot seperate us from the fond, fond memories we have because our friends have touched our heart in such a special way. As I sit here writing this, I have a huge smile on my face and am warmed by all the memories, which come back upon recall in a whirlwind of activity. Some of my favorite memories of you my dear friend, are: when I would say something to you that you didn’t agree with or perhaps thought that I had two heads and you would shoot a look to me that said, “What the hell are you talking about”, or when you and lady Yvonne agreed to keep my son as a baby for a few days when I had to go out of town, and felt it was too much for my X to handle, you both did an amazing job and Anthony repaid you by spitting the food in your face. You know that whole trip, I didn’t worry about the care that Anthony was getting, I knew that you and Yvonne were a Godsend for me. My favorite memories are a combination of all of the times that I used to come to your home and be welcome no matter what time it was. You made me feel that your home was my home and often I came to seek solace in your sanctuary. The memory that makes me laugh, is when you were reading “las tarejetas” for me and you laughed and made a face, and I said “What did they say”. Your response was “They said I had to speak up because you know she (I) can’t hear you!” So on the day following your birthday let me tell you I am truly blessed to have you in my life and I long for the day when we all can get together again. I love you my friend Juan and I love your wife Yvonne too! Thanks for always being there when I needed you both most…it means the world to me!. Love you!

    1. Your words mean so much to me because I know how genuine the sentiment behind them truly is and how genuine the person they are coming from is as well.

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