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a family event



We had a visit from our daughter and her family, they left home at 2pm yesterday for what should have been a three and a half hour trip but with Friday night traffic going into the city and the” weekenders” leaving the city to journey up here to the Central Coast and beyond it was five hours before they actually got here.


Trev and I spent two hours yesterday morning getting what used to be his room tidy enough for Shirley and Craig to sleep in, with me getting bedclothes assembled for the sofa bed for Christopher and tidying up the front room for Naomi as well. It is strange how we leave the big clean-up until a few hours before our visitors arrive so when they come we are almost too tired to appreciate that they are here and we have time to talk, interact and catch up again.


We went out to dinner, an ordinary enough meal but we were eating out together and that counts. And then time flew and it was time to put the littlies to bed and go to bed ourselves. Shirley was tired, she did three funerals last week and Craig also did one. They get called on when the family wants some religious imput but doesn’t really have a religious affiliation. They try to make it a good experience for the families but it is a hard ministry.


This morning seemed to be all about cooking, first I cooked a Saturday morning breakfast, corn fritters, eggs and bacon and lots of hot buttered toast. After breakfast when we had a little chance to talk it was time to assemble the salads and cook the hot vegetables for the BBQ lunch for Ray’s birthday. We’ve had so many BBQs in a row it was hard to make different salads for each one but I managed to do it.


Shirley, Craig and kids plus Lucas did a walk up a nearby hill to see the view, to point out the flora and fauna unique to this area, to enjoy the spring blossoms. Then they walked down to a local park and the kids played ball games and used the park equipments, more bonding time for the kids. Wish I could have been there but someone has to stay with Ray.


We banned the trampoline as Alex is still recovering from last weekend when he caught one of his toes in a spring and then had his sister jump on him and injure his foot. We'll never know how these things happen as the kids reports were garbled and frankly unlikely but it cost Pamela two days off work as Alex could not go to preschool with a swollen foot. It was good of Trev to come back over and work on the swing we had been promising the kids for this visit. He worked on it all morning and finished it just before it was time to BBQ. Must have been built strong as even the adults got to try it out.


Did the kids play well? Yes and no. We had the usual tales…he did this, she did that. The little ones tried to keep up with the bigger kids and tripped over their own feet. They tumbled and fell down the hill, they cried and cried, then picked themselves up and went on with their games. It was the usual kind of day in any family reunion time. It was just so nice to be part of the busy, noisy, family atmosphere. It’s usually much too quiet around here. I’m thrilled they took photos, I might get some nice ones of the little ones together.


There was a coolness between Edie and Trev and I didn’t offer to buy into it. If a relationship is to survive they need to have their battles and get over them on their own without parents butting in on the argument. We will see how it goes. Lukie of course is oblivious to this so went on being his usual irritating, loveable self. Just as well kids don’t realise what is going on most of as the time or we adults would spoil all their fun.


We had a good BBQ, the lamb was superb, the steaks were tasty and the sausages were gone too soon. The salads were mostly eaten and the follow up of cake and coffee seemed to be okay too. Just a little time of talking, washing up etc and then it was time for one family to go back home. As busy Salvation Army officers they cannot at this stage be away from their Corps for too long. As it was they had several phone calls from folk who didn’t realise they were away.


It’s a strange feeling, you are tired and want the peace of having your own home back in your control but miss them almost as soon as the car is out of sight. It was late afternoon so Ray trundled off to bed, Trev and I cleaned up and the visit was all over and everything packed away until the next time. Miss you Shirley, love you little family.


Ray coped okay. I wouldn’t say he did well, as he got irritated with me a few times for “telling him what to do". But with all the changes in walking spaces etc because of the sofa bed being out and the mess in the kitchen from the extra food being prepared and the kids running through the house and under everyone’s feet it was definitely harder for him to plot a course for himself. The event was put on for his benefit, so everyone could be together to celebrate his birthday but I don’t think that registered with him at all. Ray is losing his awareness of what is happening around him and why now.


I know we hold these family events to try and rekindle our relationships and to help the little cousins to relate to each other. I wonder if that is what will happen? It seems we become more and more isolated as the generations change so is this like trying to stop a runaway train? I’m hoping it does make it easier for little cousins to turn into adult cousins who enjoy each others company and endeavour to keep in touch. Being a migrant child I never had the experiences I am hopefully giving to the next generation.


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I don't have any kids. I do miss the family BBQ's and get-togethers. There is something magical about it. Even though I am deaf, I like to watch their interactions and whatnot.


My mom and grandma came to visit for almost a week last month, since my husband and I live far away. I was and still am tickled that my grandmother was still able to travel. She is 92 years old. I cherish my time with my mom, and especially, my grandmother. :hug:

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Sue, It's good you're trying, for Ray's and the spinoff's sake. Cousins always seem to have the most fun, maybe not having to compete for first place with mom and dad. I'm glad for your fun day and memory made.

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I admire you for making the get together's work. Yes, I am sure that what you are doing will make the lasting relationships happen. I never did have that. I would love it if somebody had been as thoughtful as you are.

You are a treasure.


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So glad you had a good day with memories to help you through lonelier days. I'm glad you had this day for Ray, for the kids and yes, for YOU. We cannot control what the little ones will do with their relationships but these will be days they always remember. They tell us that emotions are remembered by our loved ones long after they stop understanding facts. I'm betting that the wonderful feelings floating around Ray will stick with him even if you do not see it.


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Sue: Bruce's roommates were expected to come this weekend for my long-awaited day off and had to cancel at the last minute. My best friend was already planning on spending the day with me and my sister, who knew I had a list of stuff I wanted to get through, came to help out. Chris and I decided we would have dinner anyway (the roommates always hire Leo from 4 pm to 6 pm to help get Bruce washed up and clean for dinner and get his exercises in and they did not cancel him, so I had that window still). Bruce was disappointed, but was thrilled to see MaryBeth. Mary and I sat on the deck for two hours and just talked and caught up. We talk everyday on the phone, but this was without home interruptions and Bruce was terrific about it. We did not get much done off the work list, but I will tell you that time and then going out for a nice dinner with both Chris and MaryBeth did wonders for me. I know how you feel about not having enough one-on-one time with your daughter, those minutes are so precious. Hopefully next visit will come sooner and you'll get some real bonding time with her.

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