15 August 2011

Lots Can Happen in a month

It's a month since my last post and it was a month full of travel and celebrations. Returning to Maine where I lived for 5 1/2 years, I met up with friends, including a couple I've been friends with for 37 years. My daughter and the grands met me there and I basked in the incomparable luxury of time together.

We celebrated my father's 95th birthday in Boston. Dad is 95 but healthy, mentally sharp and still dancing! He's my aging mentor. He's also the one who taught me about the importance of nutritious food and exercise, and this was before that came to the national consciousness. I was the only school kid in the 1950's with whole wheat, pumpernickel or rye instead of white bread, which he wouldn't let in the house. I was also the kid with no added sugar on anything, drinking non-fat milk and walking my little legs off regularly. Guess he was right all along.

He was recognized with proclamations from President Obama, the Massachusetts Governor, his city's Mayor, Senator Kerry, the Boston Fire Department (35 year career) and the US Army for service in WW II. My brother wasn't able to confirm that Dad is the oldest living Boston Fire Fighter, but he might be. His sister  and some cousins I hadn't seen in years as well as all six great-grandchildren were there to add to the fun. Good food, music and non-stop gabbing rounded out the party and made it such a joyous day.

Happy birthday, Dad. Keep dancing!

Next was another birthday. My grandson turned 9 and had a big party in Florida. His requests? Ice cream cake, Nerf Guns, pizza and a movie. We got it all in during our 3 1/2 weeks together and more besides. He's a great kid, tender with his younger sister (mostly!), and surprisingly aware of and gentle to the two new babies added to our family's grandchildren generation. He's becoming skilled in games he has downloaded to my iPad and took advantage of wi-fi access that he doesn't have in his rain forest home to get even better.

I love seeing the four "older" cousins (9, 8, 6 1/2, 5 1/2) grow their friendships with one another in these yearly visits despite living so far apart. The two little ones met their cousins this year and the two year old played in the pool with the older ones to her heart's content. The five month old just sat like Budha and received kisses and hugs galore.

Happy birthday, sweet boy.

Love was in the air for the next event intoxicating all within its reach.  In a simple and beautiful ceremony, my niece pledged her love to the woman who will be her life partner. They received the good wishes and blessings of their families and just floated around in their love bubble for the week. Blending the two families in this relaxed setting proved to be delightfully easy. We kicked up our heels, talked and enjoyed one another's company as if we had been friends for years. Left me wanting more. I like that feeling and was grateful to my sister-in-law for opening her large, warm home and pool deck to us all. Her hospitality and generosity made it possible. She's my teacher.

Congratulations, Dear Ones.

Our eighth annual Gathering of the young women in our family happened next since everyone was in town for the wedding. I'll write more about this extraordinary event since it lives in my heart as my most important contribution to the well being of my family, my daughter, my grandchildren, my amazing nieces and my beloved sister-in-law.

We celebrate something each year and this year it was our challenges. Sharing them with each other lightened the load of carrying them and inspired admiration for the way each is managing theirs.  The common, humbling theme ended up being how to discover who we are and what we're meant to do at all our various life stages. Deeper closeness and friendships follow as we walk this sacred path together.  I love these women! I'm so grateful for them in my life.

As if all that wasn't enough, the day after we returned to Italy my husband and I celebrated our 38th anniversary. Bless John's heart, he actually got up on the 11th, looked at me and said: "You really don't know what day today is, do you?". "Oh, is it our anniversary?" said I figuring it had to be something big and it's August so it must be our anniversary. There were just too many places, events and people for the month and I lost track! So we had a very low key celebration of the incredible great grace that is our relationship.  He made a lovely salmon meal and we ate on our balcony in the balmy weather of summer in our little corner of the world.

I love life with this sweet man who still makes me laugh out loud. Happy anniversary, my Love.

My heart is full. I'm glad to be home to savor all that has happened. I missed my blog friends and look forward to catching up.


  1. My you have been a busy lady. So much celebrating.....
    Isn't it wonderful to have such a wise man for a Dad? He truly amazes me. Now I know where you get your healthy, strong, lifestyle...he was a great role model.
    You toast to your sweet husband brought tears to my eyes. Happy Anniversary to you both!

  2. What a rich, rich post!
    Your family, from father to husband to grandchildren and everybody in between, is healthy-looking and handsome, you're laughing, you're home...
    What more could a woman possibly want?
    Congratulations on your 37 years.
    ...and on all the rest of it as well.

  3. Wow! A whole season of celebrations, it seems. And your pictures show all the wonderful people who surround you with love and light. You and your wonderful partner are incredibly fortunate. Thank you for sharing your life with me, it's very uplifting... :-)

  4. I love your annual gathering of the women in your family. It's very special, and a rich contribution to the life of each participant. And I'm a little envious of the great health-related advice and example you got from your father! A very wise man, indeed. Happy Anniversary, and welcome back!

  5. What a lovely post and such an exciting month! So much to celebrate. I'm glad you did it in style and had a great time. And happy anniversary to you and John. You are a lucky couple to have such wonderful mates.

  6. What a beautiful, absolutely wonderful post, Mary! I could feel the warmth and love of your family -- and the sweet, gentle enduring love that you and your husband enjoy. May you have many more years to celebrate! Your Dad is an excellent mentor of healthy aging! You're are so blessed!

  7. Wow! Mary....what a wonderful family you have, I am in awe of the ways in which you all celebrate and honour each other.
    Thank you for sharing and spreading the love.

  8. Wow! What lovely celebrations -- and what a lot of miles you covered!

  9. Nanny, My Dad amazes me, too, and is my mentor. As for my Honey, all I can say is I'm very fortunate!

    June, Thank you! I'm blessed for sure. My life and heart is full.

    DJan, Incredibly fortunate! Glad to be back and sharing.

    Nancy, Growing up I thought my father was odd but I'm glad now for his advice and example. I deeply treasure our yearly gathering.

    Patti, Thanks for your greetings and wishes. It's good to be back.

    Kathy, Even with the ups and downs of 38 years together I'm grateful for our love enduring and growing.

    Lynne, Your welcome!

    TB, Yes, lots of miles and parties!

  10. I missed you while you were gone. Welcome back. It sounds like you had a wonderful visit with lots of memorable events filling up your days.

    My mother is 95 and still going strong. It is a blessing and an inspiration to watch her in her later years. I'm sure you feel the same way about your dad.

    Congrats on your anniversary.

  11. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your wonderful family with all of your blogging friends. You are a very rich woman, indeed! :-)

  12. Such a wonderful trip. And your father looks like a 50 year old! Wow! Love his cake, too. Just a wonderful trip....I am going to soak it all up in my vicarious way;)

  13. What a lovely trip, with so many happy events!

  14. Well let me add my proclamation to all the rest for your extraordinary father! Happy Birthday to him!

    And Happy Birthday to your grandson, congratulations to your niece and her partner. Congratulations to you and your husband for those years together!

    A beautiful post full of joy and love. Thank you.

  15. Sally, Yes, it's both a blessing and an inspiration, and we need both!

    Nancy, I love sharing my wonderful family. I live in abundance!

    Lauren, It's true, my father has very few wrinkles. How does he do that?

    Linda, This particular trip was filled with happy events. It's not always so but it was delicious!

    Ruth, Thanks. I missed your poetry and its ability to go deep in a few words and open up new worlds. Glad for the sweet memories and glad to be back.

  16. A delightful post filled with the love and joy and true blessings of family. Glad to read of such heartwarming celebrations! Welcome back!

  17. Great catching up with you!

  18. Lisa, Thanks. Blessings indeed!

    Rosaria, So much can happen in a month. I'm so sorry your month included your heart breaking loss. Blessings and prayers to you and your family.


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