My family is not very good at celebrating holidays in a timely manner. Earlier this week, my son Stephen texted me to verify that we were, in fact, celebrating Easter on Easter Sunday. We are.
Tonight, we celebrated my husband's birthday - -which was actually on March 17th but I was heading to NY for the Saturday Reunion so it go rescheduled. A week and a few days is not so bad, at least for us.
But tonight was a dual-purposed celebration.
My husband and I were also "receiving" our Christmas present from our children.
We share the belief that time together is more valuable than more stuff. Our kids, years ago, opted to stop exchanging gifts with each other. Instead, they have Sibling Day. They all gather together to prepare and eat a meal. Lately they also play a board game or two. Their Christmas Sibling Day was earlier in March, I believe.
Our Christmas present from our children was Family Dinner and, as the children prepared dinner, my husband and I got a "date" with our grandson.
Dating out kids goes way back to when they were little themselves. The kids used to get TV tickets - 14 tickets, each worth 30 minutes of TV time. When they spent all their TV tickets, they were done watching TV for the week. But, if they had TV tickets left over after the week ended, they earned stars on a chart. Ten stars could be traded in for a date with either my husband or myself (we alternated). The kids preferred the dates: a movie, a game for just the two of us, mini golf, etc. They became masterful at collecting dates with us. Even now, my husband still tries to get them one-on-one for breakfast several times a year. I grab whoever is around as time allows for a meal or an afternoon.
Rod and I took our grandson to the Arboretum. Alexis decided to join our date instead of helping cook, so the four of us explored the Children's Garden, went down slides, picked up wood chips, touched branches, squished dried leaves, when through the mazes, crossed rickety bridges, and found snails in the pond. As we explored, the 6 kids (our 3 from birth - each with their significant others) chopped, diced, sautéed, blended, and baked a delicious dinner. When we got to our daughter's home, we feasted on an amazing mix of food. Lauren planned the tapas-style menu with a mix of some tried and true favorites along with some new options. It was all delicious.
The best part was watching and listening to these 6 together. Each and every one of them pitched in - cleaning, making coffee, loading the dishwasher, playing with T.
I am so proud of the people they have become. Not because they hold glamorous jobs, or have fancy houses, or drive expensive cars. But because of who they are and what they stand for.
We may often be tardy in our celebrations. I don't really mind. We are tardy because we treasure the time together; it's important. Sometimes it takes a bit of scheduling for all 8 of us to be available at the same time. But it is well worth the effort. Because time is truly the best gift we can give each other.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to share this slice of my life.