The other night, my friend Charlie tacked the Nicaraguan flag to a tree in Lake Park and draped a second one over a picnic table. The people who always show up on the dot, showed up just as the clock struck six, and the 2011 Nica Picnic was underway.
They came straggling in. The fashionably late, the somewhat late, the extremely late. Without having seen each other in months, three of the Nica men came in identical black beaters. “It’s a Latino thing,” my husband explained. He would know. (And incidentally, these guys really don’t have those scary eyes, I just have a really dorky camera phone.)
They seemed glad to see each other – the Nica kids – although they are adults now. Several are now parents. They’re adults with rent and car payments, unemployment problems, complicated relationships. With children who want to eat right now and then go to the playground.
We haven’t had a Nica picnic for a while. It is really hard to get everyone together in the summer. But this year I really wanted to. The reason? A six-year old boy in Texas, adopted from Nicaragua when he was three, who really wanted to meet other Nicaraguan/adopted people. When his mother said she was planning a Milwaukee visit, it was a signal to get that grill going.
So the group gathered – because they like to see each other AND because of this new little guy to welcome. And I might just always remember the sight. The mom and her little guy walking up to a picnic table loaded with guys in black beaters and saying, “Is anybody here adopted?” and all of them and every other Nica kid within earshot raising their hands.
Sort of like being a redhead and going to Irish Fest. Little 6-year old Nica guy with his peeps –all about 20 years older. Honey, if they can do it, you can do it. It is some weird, crazy stuff being an adopted person – but they did it and lived to tell the tale. Pass it on.