Last weekend was special. The kids came—my two sons, their wives, and our granddaughter. Both of my sons live approximately two hours away (it all depends upon who’s driving). If they’re driving, it’s two hours (or less); if I’m driving, the trip takes more like two and a half hours. They can’t understand why it takes me so long; I can’t understand how they can cover the same distance so quickly. The generation gap, I guess.
Because my stepdaughter lives in Seattle, and my stepson resides in New Jersey, it’s nearly impossible to have all four of our offspring together at once. In fact, that only occurs about once every ten years. It’s not something my wife and I are happy about, but we’ve come to accept it as part of life. Ironically, the next such get together is slated to occur in just four weeks, when Becky will celebrate her big (fill in the blank) birthday. We are counting the days.
Despite my two sons living so close to us, visits are infrequent, owing mostly to the fact that it’s difficult to coordinate all of our schedules. Theirs are quite busy; ours are virtually non-existent. Fortunately, this time, the stars and planets had aligned, and we managed to find the one day when all of us were free. And it was grand!
As with most of our visits, our two cats made themselves scarce (god knows where they go, but we can never find them). There was the usual feeling out period, during which we all inquired politely as to one another’s health, job status, educational level, etc. My granddaughter held back her affections just long enough to remind me that we hadn’t seen each other in about seven weeks. But she soon fell prey to my grandfatherly attention, and, within ten minutes, I was once again “Pee Paw,” that old man she loves to chase, and who enjoys chasing her even more. You’d be surprised how simple it is for a seventy-two-year-old man to act like a two-and-a-half-year-old girl—and how at ease he is at doing it.
We had lots of great food, including hamburgers, hot dogs, and turkey brats. For me, it was a scrumptious veggie burger (if you’ve never tried one, you don’t know what you are missing). I’m not the greatest at coordinating a meal, but thanks to my eldest son’s barbecuing skills, dinner was served almost on time. Everybody ate more than they should have, but made sure they left room for Becky’s homemade Key lime pie, which added a much appreciated culinary punctuation mark to the meal. Afterward, we engaged in a few spirited games of Corn Hole, which were followed by more conversation and yet another round of chasing by grandfather and granddaughter. Some pictures were taken, more chasing and catching ensued, and then, just like that, it was over.
Becky and I stood in the driveway and made “royal waves” with hands raised in the air, as we watched the car, laden with family, slowly back out of the driveway and then pull away. I have no doubt that our granddaughter was asleep before we got back inside our house, and we were in bed earlier than we had been in quite a while. It was a good sleep—and a great visit! Would we have liked for it to have lasted longer? Of course. The time always goes too fast when we’re together. But were we grateful for it? Absolutely. After all, we’re family, and is there anything else more important? You tell me.
La famiglia—la cosa più importante di tutti!