A very wise mayor once said that summer is the season of change.
Leadership on Fort Hood is changing, military families are packing up their lives here to begin another chapter somewhere else and July marks a joyous month in my family.
My father celebrated his 56th birthday on Tuesday and my maternal grandmother, or Vovo as we call her, will blow out 96 candles July 10.
My birthday cake will get a little more crowded on the 19th, with a 29th candle sneaking its way on there — teasing me that 30 will be here sooner than I would like it to be. Gulp.
My oldest aunt turns the big 7-0 later this month and two cousins and an uncle all celebrate birthdays before the month’s end.
July has always been one big party in my family.
To add to the excitement, my family has an extreme case of FIFA Fever.
To truly understand me, you must know where I come from. My father, who was born in Brazil, is a diehard soccer fan, and since the World Cup is being held in his home country, his heart explodes with pride. His nerves about his home team winning the whole kit and caboodle for the sixth time since 1958 have him at the edge of the couch, every game.
My mother said the games have gotten so close and so intense, he paces around the house, sweating. The last time she witnessed this behavior they were both in the delivery room, awaiting the birth of their first born, me.
However, she said, my dad is more stressed now than when his kids were born.
FIFA Fever will do that to you.
When the U.S.A played Portugal last week my heart was torn.
I was born here, but I felt an allegiance to Team Ronaldo because both sides of my family are from Portugal. My husband, a self-declared mutt, has been rooting for teams that reflect his makeup, like Germany and Italy.
Growing up, when the World Cup rolled around, things got very serious in my neck of the woods. Games were watched, whether we wanted to watch them or not.
We got dressed up in green, yellow, blue and white and paraded down Main Street with the rest of the community when Brazil won.
When they lost, it was a ghost town.
Amongst the sea of tan painted faces, bodies draped in Brazilian flags, there was me — the token fair-skinned child with blond hair and big blue eyes dressed to emulate a bainha.
My dad took no prisoners when Brazil won its fifth World Cup in 2002, officially making it the country with the most victories.
He even decked out our families Astro van for the occasion. No detail was left unnoticed.
Even the dog donned some festive duds.
To keep me connected to the pandemonium that has been ensuing at my parent’s house back in Connecticut when Brazil is playing, my sister has been sending me videos and updates.
I miss seeing my dad like that. He’s a very passionate man, and it’s fun to see the little boy come out and watch him come to life.
To say my dad is a spectacle during soccer season is an understatement.
He’s animated 365 days a year, but he kicks it up a notch every four years for good measure. My dad is a very colorful man, full of life and exuberance and every four years, especially in the summer, I am reminded how lucky I am to come from where I do and that some things, fortunately, will never change.