Friday, August 5, 2011
Families and Memories and Beaches (again!)
She and Granny had played together on some of the equipment, and my mom had introduced Nola to "teeter totter."
that day is fairly slim, although I'll try to remind her of it -- that's the sad part of the tears. But on the happy side, the work we've done to make sure Nola knows the great-grandparents she's so lucky to have has paid off. It's not always easy to make the trek out to either grandparents' home, especially not while working around seniors' schedules and little one's nap time. Nor is it so easy to keep a little person entertained in the confined and slightly fussy interiors of their homes, filled with fascinating but fragile and/or precious objects. But we've made sure to keep those visits happening, wondering all along if Nola would carry memories of these important people forward, especially given that her days with them are obviously limited. Now, clearly, we know that she has images and anecdotes lodged in her memory bank to be polished and added to into her own future.
This weekend, my family (our own kids and their partners, plus 6 of my sibs, their partners, and a few of the nieces/nephews) is gathering again on our little island for a Saturday of grilled sausages, games, conversations, swimming, cake. Unlike last time, my mom will be joining us -- my brother's done some work to make sure that happens, insisting that it's really important for the family to have all the generations together. And while I have to admit it's easier to socialize without having to keep her in the loop and comfortable, he's absolutely right. Poised between my mother's failing memory and my granddaughter's newly and increasingly active one, I'm looking forward to a family weekend that will be remembered long into the future, four generations of us gathered together to play on the beach.
To close, may I ask a question? Obviously, there are few times and places in history that have offered long enough lifespans and short enough spaces between generations to allow families to have 4 (sometimes even 5, as with my grandmother who had a few great-greats). With childbirth being increasingly delayed into a woman's 30s, the 4th generation becomes less and less likely. Even though I was 23 when we had our first, I was 56 when Nola was born, and am unlikely to be around if/when she has children; I believe Nola's part of a disappearing phenomenon, at least in North American culture. What about your families? Were/are you part of a four-generation spread? Any memories you'd like to share?