The day was a gift. I have few pictures, because I was busy living. The floor got finished, the window got installed. I had mentioned to both sets of parents that I wanted to have a dinner party to celebrate. On a day or two’s notice, they dropped everything to come and spend time with us.
We are finally back to using the table that comfortably seats six, or even twelve when we put the leaves in. Twelve we had. All the grandparents, plus the two single aunties.
I have a birthday somewhere around this time of year, though I consider it generally imprudent to mention dates or age on the internet. They came with gifts. A chocolate trifle, light and spritzy wine and wineglasses, a sassy T-shirt from my sister.
Dave’s sister made balloon animals for the kids. My sister took a balloon ichthus (fish shape) and placed it on her head like a crown, with the two tail fins pointing forward like horns. The children took a long balloon and tied it on her for a tail. She proceeded to stampede across the room and balloon-impale me. (This is par for the course in our relationship.)
Out of nowhere, streamers and balloons above the dining room table. Not sure where they found them, but sisters and children decorated while I cooked. New potatoes, baby carrots and fresh beans went from sink to stovetop while I listened to the four grandparents laugh and talk over grandchild photos in the living room. We are rich. Land-rich, garden-rich, laughter-rich, love-rich.
My daughters spent most of the day in the kitchen and lavished me with baking. Fresh buns, and two sumptuous cakes–a Black Forest cheesecake, topped with fresh cherries and whipped cream, and a lemon cake for those who don’t like chocolate. In the morning, they melted down carefully-stored Easter chocolate and created filigrees, then handed them out like party favours after supper.
Candles lit the table, courtesy of my youngest’s insistence. Two tall flames flickered amid the merry clink of glasses and hilarious faux-toasts, while the sky turned to dusky pastels outside that beautiful east window. Afterward, Dave’s family took the longer road home, though not until the aunties had tied balloon tails on several children and played a round of Simon Says: tail-wagging for all.
My sister painted the fingernails of both girls and one adventurous boy in psychedelic patterns, while my mother (bless her heart) washed every dish that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher. I mopped the tile floor clean of chocolate cheesecake splashes and other sundries.
It was just right. We fit together like magic–you don’t just marry a person, you marry their family. Dave and I and these Fabulous Four are a nexus where much friction could occur. For many families, it does.
For us…we are rich. Our people make us rich.