Mid-summer @54

He and the children and the tiny ones took me to the zoo for my birthday adventure. It was hot, of course. July in Southeast Texas. The zoo we visited is small and canopied with tall shade giving trees. A lot more bearable for the tiny ones and this old one.

We followed with a train ride around the little lake and then on to eat a Mexican food luncheon. The cafe gave me a caramel drenched brownie and the tiny ones helped me eat it. Actually, he fed it to the three of us since they were in my lap. The two of them beat me to most of the bites.

We had a lot of laughing and playing. What else could I wish for than to have all of them with me?

Our daughter and her tiny one spent the whole weekend with us, leaving on Monday. We went to see my Daddy’s sister for a brief visit. Didn’t get to see the other one on that trip.

Seeing my aunt filled me with such emotion. I get it every time I see either of my Daddy’s sisters or my Mama’s sisters. It is hard to describe the feeling. I liken it to the sense of being adrift at sea and finally washing up on a welcoming shore.

And yet, it starkly reminds me of the many long years he and I have been without our mothers and our fathers. Years that they might have still spent with us. That loss seems to echo in me more as the years pass, rather than less.

All I can do is love the tiny ones extra for the ones gone on ahead and then love them some more for me. And try to be a welcoming shore for them as long as I am allowed to remain.

Kitchen window. Stained glass from him for my birthday. New curtain panel stitched and installed yesterday.

Connections

Sunday afternoon was wonderful! My mother’s two sisters and their daughters and I were together visiting.  Recalling shared memories and retelling family lore.  Lots of laughing and talking!   Connecting with the past and making new memories.

I spoke with my daughter this afternoon and heard from my niece the other day. Holiday plans are taking shape!  We will be connecting over the long holiday weekend.

Since there will only be 4 of us for our official family dinner, it will be a challenge for me to cook the meal. I am accustomed to cooking enough for 6 or more with enough leftovers to divide into three parts for another 6 or 8 servings.  I have some ideas forming about how to create traditional dishes in reasonable quantities.  We’ll see how it turns out!

Of course, I will have some company over the long weekend as well. So some things will work to prepare new dishes from leftover dishes.  Maybe I could do a whole turkey after all?  I have a wonderful recipe for turkey salad I got from my mother-in-law’s step mother.  Even recipes connect the generations and memories of the past.

Great food and wonderful company! Two perfect things for which to be very thankful!  Now to just figure out how to connect the Skype to get through to Maui……………..

Fall in Southeast Texas has it’s share of beautiful color……….connecting the long hot summer to the cold wet winter.

IMAG1259-1-1

Marking Time

Traditions seem to have been discarded in today’s world.  Pseudo-rituals have become the fad.  Going to some restaurant or theme park.  Having a gathering of some sort randomly.  I don’t know what all folks are doing these days out there.

Traditions such as large family gatherings of grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and some family friends added in seems to have gone by the wayside.  I wonder why.  It can’t be due to traveling distances.  Highways and vehicles make even long trips easy.  Not to mention air travel availability.  Houses are larger.  Food comes in forms easier to prepare and serve.

Why are we so tired of it all?  Why did we do it to begin with?  Once upon a time, it was high entertainment.  It was a way to connect and socialize and be part of something.  The year was punctuated by feasts and festivals.  Christmas was only one of many events celebrated with gatherings of people for feasts, contests, dramatic productions, pageants, and parades.  Time was marked by holidays and celebrations.

Entertainment is now so overabundant and cheap, we seem to no longer need a way to mark the passing of time.  Social media, satellite television, cellular phones with internet service.  Movies and restaurants by the dozens.  Sporting and music events.   That just touches the surface of options to fill our time and expend our energy.  There is so much to do, we try to do it all.  Suddenly, another year has passed.  Suddenly, we realize it has been more than a decade and a half since we have seen people we grew up loving and spending time with.

One of my intentions for this year  was to have lunch with a friend each month.  I did January’s lunch.  February’s I did not.  March is quickly coming to a close.  However, I will give myself credit for stopping to see a friend.  One of my best friends.  She was at work, so it was just hugs and a quick so great to see you, how are the kids, kind of moment.  But, it was still a precious moment in time.

So, what else do I want?  I am not sure.  I am not sure if trying to reconstruct the old ways is correct or feasible.  But, surely, we could come up with more solid structure for connections than what we have now.  It is really up to me to make the effort to create a space in time for the next generation to have connection with family and close friends.

I had a lovely few hours with my niece and my two wonderful great nieces this past weekend.  Perhaps they are what sent me off on this train of thought.

In this outrageously disconnected world we live in, I want them to have connection.  I want them to feel as though they belong to a larger group of loving individuals.  Bound by love and tradition and ritual.  Secure in the knowledge that there is always a safe place in this world when all seems to be spinning out of control.  Their parents provide this certainly.  But, the extension of the family group makes a difference when the storms come and when the joys come, too.

IMAG0745-1

More than dishes.

Colored glass shapes for holding celebrations.

Holding foods for celebrations.

Holding memories of celebrations.

Holding hope of future celebrations.

Holding promises of memories yet to be celebrated.