Oh the stories you’ll hear!
This past Saturday they came to Deerfield IL from Madison, WI. My son, his wife and my grandchildren Merete and Aiden. My granddaughter Katie and her boyfriend Lance came up from Chicago. My lady friend, Felice, was there too
The chatter over lunch and dinner was rich, lively and full of stories about what’s going on in each of our lives. Inside my soul swelled, or as we say in Yiddish, kvelled, with joy and pride and happiness.
Julie, my daughter-in-law talked about plans for all getting together for Thanksgiving. Even the California family is coming in for that one. My granddaughter Jessica and her parents–daughter Ellen and son-in-law Don–will be there. Grandson Benny and his wife Corina, who live in Madison, also will be there.
“Isn’t it great?” I said with blissful anticipation.
Michael, my son, said “Each person can cook something special for Thanksgiving from the country of their choice.” It will be an eclectic meal with hints into each person’s interest and adventures, with their choice of food item to share.
Merete, age 18, goes off to college in a couple of weeks. “Can I visit you?” I asked?
“Yes, you can,” she assured me.
“Can I call you every couple of weeks?” I asked?
“No, grandpa,” she said, and my mouth dropped open. But she continued. ”You can call me every week, like you call Ethan, Benny and Jessica.” And she said that with a sweet smile.
“Merete, will you send me the papers you write from college?” I asked.
“Yes I will, grandpa, just like I did from High School. “And I’ll let you know if it’s okay to send them to all the members of the family.” She knows I love to share things from each of my grandchildren with the rest, to keep everyone connected, to keep us energized with new ideas, and to know what’s going on in everyone’s world.
“Aiden, you were just on trip with your mom out west. Tell us a story about your trip,” I prompted.
“Grandpa, we saw three herds of Bison on a big hill. When we came back down the hill, the road was blocked by the bison.”
“Grandpa, tell us a story,” they asked.
“Well, a couple of weeks ago I was arrogant and judgmental with my Friday morning breakfast guys,” I started.
“Why, dad,” asked my son, the psychiatrist.
“I don’t understand why they don’t want to do anything, to take up causes and change the world,” I said. I’ve learned since asking them that retirement is a hard adjustment for some of them, so I am trying to have compassion. I continued, “But last week I lost my temper when they suggested a conversation topic that seemed so superficial to me. The guys said, ‘next week let’s talk about the time we lost our virginity!’”
As I glanced around the table there was muffled laughter, eyes down looking at plates, and tiny smiles from the 18- and 16-year-olds. I decided not to pursue the topic further (but you can read about the conversation with my coffee group here).
Then 8 pm came. Kind of like midnight for Cinderella…that magic hour when everything changes back to normal. Michael and his family left for the drive back to Madison. Katie and Lance headed back to Chicago. Lots of hugs and kisses.
I knew it took effort on all of their parts to make the trip to Deerfield to visit. As they were leaving, I said to my son. “Thank you for coming. It’s a great mental health lift for me.”
He chuckled, gave me a kiss and a hug, and said “For me, too, Dad. It’s a great mental health lift for me, too.”
Tell me a story about your last family visit.