I'm giving a birthday party tomorrow for my #1 son, who's just turned nine, my mother in law, who's just turned seventy four, and my baby brother, who's just turned thirty three. I say I. I should say my husband and I. He's giving the yard a haircut and policing around the outside of the house. He'll be the grill meister during the event. He'll be doing heavy duty party clean-up afterwards too. These are his contributions. The M-A-N stuff.
It's one of those family events. I've described them before here, in other posts. Several generations, mixing of my family and husband's, the very young to the very senior. Lots and lots of laughter, too many conversations to even hear, lot of hugging, holding of hands, sitting shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, criss-cross applesauce, start-up baseball, tag, jump rope, romper stompers, sidewalk chalk, photo albums, medical advice, catching up, blah blah just you name it. I hear, just so no one thinks (that I believe) we are a family per-fect-o, that there have been a disagreement or two between family members at these parties. I don't doubt it. I hope so. When you get this many of us together I pray we all are close enough that at least two of us have something to disagree about.
This year, for the first time my Grandmother won't be making the trip to my house for the party. It's an hour and forty five minute trip, and she's ninety nine years old. She rides with Mama and Daddy. She made the trip back in May when I had a party for her birthday/Mothers' day. It was too much for her. Not the party - the car trip. It hurt her back. She was sore. Her tummy is not good anymore and she's afraid . . . just afraid. Afraid she won't be comfortable, afraid she'll be sore, afraid her tummy won't be happy to make the trip, just too tired and afraid. At ninety nine, who can blame her?
Ran into my cousin the other day and his kids were afraid they weren't gonna get to come. Don't worry, their Dad reassured them. We're going.
My uncle, Grandmother's son, who has esophageal cancer, is seventy seven (I think). Maybe seventy eight. Going through chemo. Picture of energy. He's coming to the party.
It's going to be a different party this year in more ways than one. Age, and time, does strange things to the dynamic of a party. And a family.