Mexico has always left a bad taste in my mouth. I know that sounds slightly racist, but just hear me out.
For full effect, download “From This Moment On” by Brian White and Shania Twain and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
When you hear the words “Cabo San Lucas, Mexico” I’m sure the first few things that come to your mind are spring break, bikinis, and shots of tequila. However when I think of Cabo, I’m reminded of drug-addicted stepfathers and a return to an abandoned house when I got home from my two-year religious experience, so you can imagine my confusion as I sat with family just after 1 am eating fresh pollo tacos and quesadillas off the grill.
Me: "What the Hell am I doing here?"
Rachel: "We’re all hungry and tired and this is when all the restaurants are the most busy. People still need to eat after working all day long.”
Me: "No I understand why we’re here eating and why the economy in this country pushes vendors to keep their doors open nonstop, what I’m really trying to figure out is what the Hell am I doing here on a Wednesday night in Mexico?”
Now you may be asking yourself the same question as to what caused me to hop into a car, drive 6½ hours to Los Angeles, fold myself into a cardboard box of an airplane for another 2½ hours, waddle through the labyrinth of customs agents ensuring that I wasn’t bringing any foreign hazardous materials such as gunpowder or artichokes across the border, and then drive another 45 minutes to a two bedroom shack on the beach. What in the name of everything logical was it that possessed me to take a 1,241-mile road trip down to the southwestern tip of North America?
It was for something much more important than tacos at 1 am. It was for a wedding.
Weddings make you do crazy things. I think every one of us can attest to that. There are a slew of romantic comedies scripted with the premise that a lifetime commitment between two individuals turns you into a loony. Julia Roberts has based her entire acting career off of this premise, true story. Weddings make you nuts. They create irrational decisions for rational people. They make you empty your bank accounts and board planes for strange countries that don’t have basic cable. I’m telling you, weddings are ludicrous!
This wild wedding theory was evident two days following my just after midnight tacos, as I stood barefoot with my family watching a Bishop conduct a marriage ceremony half in broken English, and half in his native Spanish while the sun rose in the background on Lovers Beach. I stood next to my Mom, and my sisters, my one year-old niece Raleigh, and a few Mexican families and we watched the marital exchanges between two young kids who decided one day to fall in love with each other.
I know this picture being painted is one of the most beautiful moments that even Nicholas Sparks can’t paint in a series of romantic novels. And I’m willing to bet nearly half the women reading this with misty eyes are envisioning their own marriage ceremonies on a beach with dolphins in the background and their closest friends surrounding them. Don’t lie ladies, everyone knows the truth. You can go start pinning things to your Cabo San Lucas Wedding board once this post is finished.
As we all stood there on that beach and witnessed a display of the L-word, I found the answer to the question I had been stewing over for a few days after eating midnight tacos. It was not an emotional answer that I found, gratefully sobbing over the exchange of vows, rings, and kisses. It was not a spiritual conviction that shook my soul as the bonds of matrimony were forged that morning. I wish I could tell you as I’m typing these words on the flight home that I felt at peace and could sense the presence of my Dad with all of us there, but that beyond the veil experience did not happen, and it was not the reason why I stood on that beach.
The real reason why I went to Mexico was just to be there for my sister. Because after battling through so many years of depression and misery, every single one of us deserves some kind of romantic wedding on a beach somewhere. And I didn’t want to miss hers.
Cabo is a unique place. It’s a second-hand world full of tequila bars, generic-brand pharmacies, and tourist attractions to blow your savings on. It still does have a rather bitter taste in my mouth, and I can’t promise that I will ever return to that part of the world in the years to come. But as I stood on that beach for a few minutes and watched my little sister live out her dreams, all of those disgusting details of the past went by the wayside. Because at that point, my sister and my family were happy.
And that is what matters the most.