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One for the Now, and Eleven for the Later

Monday, January 07, 2013

I am poised on the brink of some massive family stuff. My mother is turning 80 later this week. And so there will be two parties. It's not that the two sides of the family don't get along or anything like that; it's just that there are WAY too many people. Hence there's just no way we could do a party without it turning into an *affair*, complete with a hall and a caterer and all that other junk.

Therefore, the first will be my mother's side, held at a Chinese buffet near their home, on the 12th. I am taking a train in on the 11th and staying until the 14th. The second will be at my aunt's in NJ, on the 19th. For that one, both Mr. j and I are coming in on the 18th and staying until the 20th.

In the meantime, the number of people staying at my folks' is spiraling out of control. As in, I received an email, asking which couch I preferred. Argh. I would go to a motel, but it just ain't in the budget. And so I flipped a coin and it came up guest bedroom, rather than den.

I suspect I will also be on driving duty. I have been on photo album duty already, which has resulted in pics of mystery babies and forgotten images of their friends from God knows when and holy crap when did your hair look like THAT?

Helpful hint from jes - never, EVER, make it apparent if you're at all good at anything like that. 'Cause you'll be stuck doing it every f'in' time.

But I do it, I do it because I have to, but also because of course I love my mother and I want her to be happy. I haven't got the bucks to give her a trip or a day spa visit or an iPad or whatever. So the album is it. I wrote a sonnet.

In dieting news, this whole trip will be an occasion to try to stay away from really bad foods and squeeze in some form of exercise. Since pretty much no one but me regularly works out, this will be tricky, as this is supposed to be Family Togetherness Time (TM). Hence running off (literally) for an hour every day may not be in the cards. As for walking with someone, er, I'm not so sure I want to do that, either. I'll find a way; I always do. This might involve getting up super-early. Pain in the patoot but otherwise I get no exercise and no alone time and that is not good.

Now, I realize there is very little above about me actually enjoying any of this. I do like seeing my family and all of that. And I haven't seen my cousins in a LONG time (although I keep up with most of them on Facebook, so it's not like I'm completely clueless as to how their lives are currently going). But it just seems so trying.

And, the unspoken bit, the part that nobody mentions, is, we all wonder - is this the last big birthday where all are together? Is this the swan song, the final hurrah? Or is it one in a continuing series, and we'll laugh about how silly and scared we were when she hits 90 or 100? Of course, there's no way for me to know, or for anyone to know, not right now.

And so I will go. And I will grin and bear it, and will try to have my own needs fulfilled as I dovetail them with others' needs and it all gets wrapped up in a pretty little anxiety bow.

That frustrated scream you're hearing from the vague direction of Long Island? That would be me. Enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm betting you'll be able to pull off some good family times during this event...pulling off workouts & healthy eating is always a challenge. That's what un-raveled me during the past holiday season, ugh!

    2693 days ago
    Greg and I call it Family Torture Time, in a loving way of course. I don't envy you those two trips! My grandpa turns 100 this year, within days of Greg, so we're toying with a 130th birthday party. Who knows? That party will have to be down in the Bronx, possibly at the senior center that my Grandpa goes to every day. He still lives on his own. His hearing and sight are gone but the man is still sharp as a friggin tack.
    2699 days ago
    She'll only have one 80th birthday so better to party as many times as ya'll can! Bring a sleeping bag to help pad out the couch or the den or wherever you end up sleeping. The scrapbook sounds great. And someone mentioned the electric photo frame - that's also a big hit with my mom (we had a 69.5 year birthday party for my mom one Memorial day weekend because her birthday is in the winter and my siblings and their families in colleges etc were busy in the fall and winter months with their games etc) and us kids all kicked in a few bucks (well I don't know like 10 each? 20? depends on how fancy a frame, I guess....) and then we all loaded in the photos we had from various jump drives and flash cards and email. Worked out well. Mom never suspected a thing and she didn't have to mess with adding the photos in. She LOVES her photo frame. So that's something to consider (especially if you hurry, your family might be able to find some nice ones on clearance prices from being "last year's model" just in time for your mom's birthday! (one of the advantages of a January birthday - I know! That's where I get a lot of my own birthday presents!! haha!).

    In any case however it works out, have a great trip! And don't worry about the 90th birthday until it gets there!! Worry about one birthday at a time!! ;-)
    (or if you want to worry about it, you'll have 10 years to think about the next poem to write!?)


    2700 days ago
    3 years are something my daughter and I share. She enters the double digits in March and I turn 50 in December! Congrats to your Mom, and don't stress, just flow with the go! emoticon
    2700 days ago
    Well, by golly, congrats to your mother!

    Love the photo album idea - after all, really, what can you get for someone at that age they haven't already got or don't want? When my grandmother turned 95 we got her one of those digital frames that cycle photographs. My uncle had collected pictures from all of us and scanned them in - she loved it!

    Re the running: surely in a family that big, someone - a cousin, a nephew, a sister-in-law, someone - also runs / works out. And if they don't, who knows, you might convert a nonbeliever who'll at least keep you company while you're there!
    p.s. For what it's worth, I think a sonnet trumps a limerick, lol...
    2700 days ago
    Well maybe it will be a pain in the patoot but I for one am expecting some hilarious blogs out of all this. After all these years I feel like one of the clan.
    2700 days ago
    Happy birthday, Mom! You can handle it. And a walk to take a break from family might make it even better.
    2700 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    If I was your mum, the photo album would be my most treasured gift! It's wonderful that you have the skills to put that together for her & I bet it will be the hit of the party. Sounds like you have a good plan to deal with the family stress. Hopefully there won't be too many unpleasant moments... but there will be lots of laughter and fun. Lucky you on the coin toss. lol
    2700 days ago
    You know what... I used to think it was rude to go off on a run when I was with family. But they don't really care. Pick a time when people are just doing nothing and then go. I typically head out around 10 in the morning.
    2701 days ago
  • no profile photo CD10795864
    Wow, what planning!

    I think you are a good daughter.

    Try and get some workouts in, I know you can do it!
    2701 days ago
    We have a lot of 0's this year. My grand daughter turns 20,my youngest daughter will be 40,My oldest son 50, My hubby 70 and my sister will turn 80. My sisters kids will do something for her and my brother is coming from arizona. i know Bill's kids will want to do something but I don't want my kids left out.We just had them all here and really don't want to go thru that again. But it might be the best thing.These things are stressful
    2701 days ago
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