It’s the Wednesday before Memorial Day and Mr. Smith and I are both incredibly excited for the weekend to arrive. We will be celebrating his 65thbirthday with all our children, their wives and our grandchildren. We will miss Hsin Yi and Eleanor as they are in Taiwan visiting family, but all others will be present and accounted for. We will rendezvous at a hotel with a pool near Cleveland, Ohio to mark the occasion. It is what Mr. Smith wants for his birthday. I had been racking my brain for an appropriately fabulous gift for this auspicious occasion. Each time I asked him if there was something special that would make his heart go pitter-pat, he always responded the same, “I want to celebrate with my peeps.” So, we’re making that happen.
His celebration will be filled with noise, games and activity, and loads of love. We’ll have a pizza party, get some exercise with a hike at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and share a special dinner on Sunday which will include Becky’s famous cupcakes. All our grandchildren are little fish, so there will be lots of swimming. We’ll play a couple of Grandpa Nick centric games and munch lots of yummy snacks. Hopefully all the fun will tire out the grandkids, leaving a bit of adult time in the evening to pop that champagne with our sons and daughters-in-law while our little darlings drift off to sleep angelically.
It will be like a mini Camp Grandma, except that Grandpa will be the primo VIP! Mr. Smith and I treasure anything that strengthens the bonds of our far-flung family. We love seeing our sons catch up with each other’s lives. We love watching our grandchildren get to know their cousins, aunts and uncles better, and in some instances, their own parents. Four-year old Emily is at a point where she’s figuring out the family tree. Many Facetime calls are spent discussing the fact that, yes, Grandpa and I are her father’s parents and Uncle Emmet and Uncle Adam’s parents. I think being all together will help her form a clearer portrait of her family and all its branches. I know being together always improves my viewpoint!
There is extensive research that demonstrates the benefits of interaction with extended family. I didn’t have grandparents growing up, but I had my Aunt Ruby and six siblings. I know the benefits of having them in my life were immeasurable. I am constantly amazed at how much my adult children and grandchildren add to my life. They ground me, they sustain me, and they make me want to be a better person. We are lucky people…
C’est la vie.