What do you get when you add one 85th birthday, one 65th wedding anniversary and one 90th birthday?...
A GREAT BIG OLE' PARTY!
Ever since I can remember, summertime meant "Grandmama's house." Ashley and I didn't go to camp; we spent six weeks at Grandmama's in rural Alabama. Our grandparents hail from large, tight-knit families - as do most folks their age, in that part of the country - and they created a large, tight-knit family with six children. When grandchildren started arriving, close relationships with the new members of the clan were forgone conclusions. The challenge was creating those close relationships, since all of the Top 5 Grands lived far away from Fort Deposit.
My grandmama is a strong woman, and she loves her grandchilden, and she wanted us for the summer. Think about that statement for a moment: she wanted us - all five of us - for the summer. There was no question of where would we all sleep, or bathe, or what would we eat, or however would she corral five children and still maintain her sanity, much less continue to run her household. She just did it. And she loved it, and so did Grandaddy - who (to our parents' surprise...) was way more involved with us than he was with our parents.
To say that our summers were fun would be a tremendous understatement. In a word, those summers were magical, and the memories are too personal, too precious and too abundant to share with the internets. My grandparents succeeded in creating close relationships with all of their grandchildren and, still, when we go back to visit it seems like no time has passed. The fact they have enjoyed such long and healthy lives means that our relationships with them have continued to evolve and change and strengthen. For me, personally, being grounded with so much love from a large, extended family is one of the greatest blessings in my life.
On October 18th, the "siblings" threw a party celebrating the milestones Grandaddy and Grandmama reached in 2008: Grandmama turned 85 in May, their 65th wedding anniversary was in June, and Grandaddy turned 90 on October 16th. The siblings outdid themselves, and it is fair to say a great time was enjoyed by all.