February 7, 2014
A few weeks ago I went to Florida with many other family members to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday. It was a wonderful weekend of visiting and reuniting with loved ones. Ninety years is a lot to celebrate, as is a life full of family, hard work, and perseverance. My grandfather’s cake said it all when it read:
Children and spouses: 15 Grandchildren: 21 Great Grandchildren: 16
That’s a lot of love right there!
My grandfather is a nut. Really. He has never lost his sense of humor and can always be counted on for a comical, witty answer to almost any question. The morning of his birthday, when we all met up for breakfast, I asked him how he slept last night. His answer, “with my eyes closed”.
My grandfather is a remarkable man. He has is PHD in Nuclear Physics and worked for the space program for many years. He and my grandmother raised 8 children together, plus two foster children and one special needs child whom they lost at 3 years old.
The only thing he asked of everyone was for each person to write down some of their memories. There were no limits, and no guidelines. Each person was free to write about their childhood or adult memories that will eventually be put into a collection for everyone. It was a wonderful exercise and such a great idea. Each person brought their own take on their childhood and often times the same situation was recalled from very different points of view. There was a lot of laughter and may or may not have been some fun-poking in this process.
In turn, my Nono took the time to talk to each of us and recall a specific memory he has of us. His memory of me: visiting our family when I was 4 years old and me running around the yard and house wearing nothing but a jacket. Buck naked save for a flimsy coat. Um….great.
He humored me for a few portraits but couldn’t resist making faces at the camera.
My mom took this image of Nono and his wife Jeanne down at the beach.
And here we all are, the 50+ people who came to honor and celebrate my grandfather. This isn’t even the entire family!
It was a wonderful weekend and a joyous occasion to celebrate. We should all be so lucky to be in good health at ninety years old, living at home with our beloved spouse, surrounded by family, and a novel’s worth of lifetime memories.