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I don’t know what it is about the month of October, but is has grown to become one of my favorite months out of the year. Don’t get me wrong, November and December are some of my favorites, too, but October just reminds me of /br /Traditions are very important to me. I learned from my mother and my Abuelita that there is nothing more important than family. I grew up with my cousins who are like my brothers and sisters. We would spend days playing on the Martinez compound i{about 2+ acres of land}/inbsp;running around,nbsp;climbingnbsp;trees and picking apples. I remember running through my grandmother’s fresh laundry that hung on the line to dry and getting yelled at with a fiery Spanishnbsp; /br /Our entire family would gather on various weekends grilling flank steaks and piling all the homemade fillings into our homemade tortillas. The uncles would be off playing poker with beers in hand, the aunts would be gossiping in Spanglish while the kids ran barefoot through the leaves, getting as dirty as /br /Everyone was always invited, but there never was any expectation for you to attend. It was open to all who had time. There was no shame or guilt placed on you if you didn’t make it. And no one talked behind your back when you weren’t there. As an adult I came to appreciate this gift given to me by my family. It is not one that many people experience or even /br /As we all grew older, the family expanded. Cousins got married and had children. Being the 5th youngest grandchild i{out of 16~I think}/inbsp;we just welcomed all our new cousins both by marriage and birth. No matter who you were you were automatically family. There was such ease with this life. It didn’t matter how much money you made, who you knew outside the family, or how many toys you collected. We all loved each other equally and withoutnbsp;prejudice. There was no judgement, no jealousy, and no competitioni {at least in my world}/ /br /When I introduced my husband to my family he felt what I always knew immediately. He realized there was such a welcoming atmosphere among my relatives whose names he could not remember for years because there were so many, but it didn’t matter. My Mexican grandmother loved him immediately because she loved me. Everyone in my family loved him. They took him in and treated him like a brother/cousin/grandson /br /I miss those /br /div class=”separator” style=”clear: both; text-align: center;”a href=”” imageanchor=”1″ style=”margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;”img border=”0″ height=”215″ src=”” width=”320″ //a/divbr /br /i{ be continued}/ibr /br /a href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”Anna” border=”0″ src=”” //a