My nieces threw a surprise 75th birthday party for my older brother a few days ago. (He canceled the one he and his girlfriend were going to throw together.) It was so good to see everyone in the family except my brand new great-great nephew and his parents who live out of state. My brother was thoroughly surprised and everyone loved the photo book I made and had printed at Blurb. It’s going to be a good summer for family get-togethers---two showers and a wedding invitation are already filed in the pages of my day planner and I’m working on a cousin’s get-together at the cottage where I spent all the summers of my youth.
Easter was good, too. The night before I got a call from my niece-in law asking me to join her huge family for dinner out in the boondocks. It was her mother’s first Easter without her husband and I think the invitation had something to do with that, but she was fine---seemed to be holding herself together pretty well and enjoying herself with all her kids and grandchildren around. Most of the adults in attendance and I have crossed paths for 42 years of going to weddings, showers and funerals so I didn’t feel entirely out of place. At one point in the afternoon five of her grandsons packed their babies up in their strollers, grabbed a beer or wine cooler and off they all went for a walk around the lake while we women folk sat in a sun circle talking. If someone 40-50 years age would have told me how much attitudes about fatherhood joys and duties would change I wouldn’t have believed it. But I think all the hands-on stuff is good for guys, their families and society. Why should women get all the fun and bonding time with their kids? Time to share, ladies.
As fellow blogger Belle Rum over at Cul-de-Sac-Chronicles recently wrote: “We make traditions and we keep them for years. Then things change. Kids grow up and move to another city, loved ones die and we are left to celebrate even when it doesn’t feel like a time to celebrate.” My own family’s holiday traditions fell apart years ago when my mom died, new ones were born, then reborn again and again---the last time to fit my husband’s disabilities. (Wheelchairs limit your invitation venues big time.) This is my third Easter without Don and new traditions have not yet been established, so I was grateful to grab a little holiday spirit, even if vicariously through someone else’s family. These past few years since Don died I’ve been the elderly aunt passed around on the holidays, never quite belonging anywhere yet never quite an outcast or third wheel either. Life is full of mystery and sometimes I wish mine was like a book and I could sneak a peek at the last chapter to see if holiday traditions ever find me again. Or is this it, the new normal for me? Am I now officially living in the land Pass-Around Widows, never knowing from one holiday to another where we’ll be next? ©