Happy Belated Birthday, Poppa!

We gathered last weekend to celebrate Jan’s dad’s 89th birthday.

It was our third attempt.

We tried in both January and February – but were snowed out both times. We were almost afraid to try again – but thankfully the weather held and both the Minnesota and Chicago Shervheim’s were able to join us for a quick overnight and party.

it was quite the overnight as all three families camped out in the big house, in sleeping bags, surrounded by boxes and with little furniture. The four remaining chairs became a hot commodity, and we discovered that ice chests made great tables when sitting on the floor.

The actual birthday party was held in the Great Room at Poppa and Nana’s new Senior Living apartments, where there were actual chairs and tables!

We celebrated Poppa’s 89 years with cake and ice cream and pizza and presents.

And we listened to his stories.

Like the one when he was invited to Washington DC as an Eagle Scout and presented President Truman with a medallion and met J. Edgar Hoover.

His time working on the railroad.

His military years.

The first time he ate pistachios while stationed in Iran. (He still loves them!)

All our favorite stories.

Three generations together. Laughing, remembering, and celebrating.

Happy birthday, Poppa!

 

 

 

A Different Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with my husband’s family was a little different this year.

There were fewer faces around the table and that table was sitting in a house that was slowly being emptied.

It has been a year of change and transitions which included a cancer diagnosis for Jan’s dad and several rounds of chemo.

And in just a few weeks, Jan’s parents will be moving out of their large four bedroom family home into a senior living apartment.

There has been a lot of cleaning and sorting and giving away.

Several rooms sit almost empty. Others have furniture noticeably missing.

But the dining room table was still there. And the fine china wasn’t packed. So Jan’s mom borrowed my roaster and did the turkey while the kids and I made sides and desserts.

We enjoyed one last Thanksgiving in the family home, just them and us and a couple of close friends.

It was one short day. No overnight. No extended family.

But we missed them.

There was no coffee run and Black Friday shopping. No late night Clue Game and pumpkin pie. No grand kids sprawled all over the family room.

And I missed spending time with my sisters-in-law; gals who are related only by marriage but have become some of my dearest friends. Bonded together by years of late night talks in one of the bedrooms upstairs.

It was a different Thanksgiving. Quieter. Shorter.

There were a few tears. But there was also laughter.

We’ll get his parents settled in the new apartment in the new few weeks and then we’ll find some new traditions.

It will be different.

But in the end, it’s not the place, but the people that matter.

And for them, I am very thankful.