Monday, March 29, 2010

The two matriarchs

A friend who reads my blogs aptly described them as "musings". Today's effort will stray a bit, and be more of a personal recounting of a special day.

After a couple of weeks absence out of state, I returned in time to appreciate the Palm Sunday service at St. Mark's, being escorted there by my granddaughter and her fiancé, Joe. Later, I selected wine to take to the potluck celebration of the birthdays of one matriarch, my dear wife Barbara, 84 on Monday, and that of the youngest of her three daughters, Lisa, who became 56 on the same day. With Lisa was her partner, Tristan, who had taken her, Barbara, and me out to dinner on Sunday at "Cafe Gratitude", a vegetarian/vegan/raw food establishment.

Barbara's son, Brian, and his partner, Marlene, very kindly opened their home for the celebration on Sunday evening. My daughter-in-law, Jennifer, brought two of our grandchildren: Anna (7) and Thomas (5). Lisa's daughter, Justine, came with Joe.

Marlene's mother, Nina, is 94. With her came Marlene's younger daughter, Alison, and her husband, Brad. Her elder daughter, Karen, came with her husband, Owen, and their son, Collin. Another of Nina's granddaughters, Dawn, came with her husband, Matt, and their son, Luc. Was indeed another example of happy "blending".

Several close family members could not be there. Barbara's eldest daughter, Kristin, and her husband, Chuck, had recently spent a lot of time with us at our "second home" in Colorado, and were about to leave to be with their daughter, Shannon, at a pre-graduation ceremony at UBC (University of British Colombia) in Vancouver. Barbara's second daughter, Laurie Lewis, and her partner, Tom Rozum, had gigs in the Austin area last weekend, and my elder son, Jeremy, was on his way back from a business trip to Nashville. My younger son, Nicholas, and his family live in Burbank, too far away to travel for a birthday party.

At first, I felt sad that so many of our closest family members could not be there, especially because three accomplished musicians were absent. However, Collin performed two of Beethoven's works - and the "Pink Panther" theme! - on the piano. Luc accompanied his cousin on the clarinet, and Anna played the violin. Matt had brought his accordion, but mostly left it to the children to play. (Thomas had forgotten to bring his violin!) So when the time came, we had a musical accompaniment when we sang "Happy Birthday" to each of the honorees.

The food was delicious, topped off by an uncooked dessert, created by Tristan. Lisa took three puffs to extinguish the candles, but when they were replaced and re-lit, her mother blew them all out at her first attempt.

I counted my blessings that evening, knowing that on Monday I would be working with two other members of our extended family, Jane and Nancy.

Matriarch? Nina already has great-grandchildren, and the other matriarch, Barbara, hopes soon to see our first great-grandchild.

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