Pop the Patriarch turns 80

Sometimes when things come together, it’s luck – like my husband needing to go to Texas for work at the same time I needed to go to Texas for a family gathering. He didn’t have to use any vacation days and I didn’t have to drive myself!

But most of the time when things come together it’s because a bunch of people worked their asses off to get it done.

My grandfather’s 80th birthday was last week and my entire family worked closely together to plan a fantastic celebration. From compiling a guest list and sending out invitations and request for letters detailing memories from my grandfather’s past to buying, prepping and cooking enough food for a gaggle of people to providing technical support – we all pitched in.

And what a success! Even with the snags along the way (food warmers that didn’t work, obnoxious building personnel) the party was a happy, sentimental affair.

Folks from all over the country sent in letters for my grandfather telling him about their favorite memory of him. His high school class was very helpful with this. They’re such a close bunch and that makes me happy.

We had guests attend from near and far, and we were so grateful for them all for making the trip.

There had been talk of getting a recliner for my grandfather to sit in to receive guests, but I don’t think his rear end touched even a plastic chair once that day. He went from table to table, from crowd to crowd visiting with his well-wishers and it made my heart grow about 10 times to see the smile on his face the entire day. (And of course I cried when I presented him with the stack of letters. I’ll blame it on pregnancy hormones.)

And although the joy of seeing all these smiling faces was pretty much just indescribable, my favorite part of the afternoon was when everyone was getting ready to leave and several of us stayed back to clean.

Without even being asked, my cousins jumped in to clear tables, put away food and mop the floor. My husband threw knives to pop balloons that had gotten stuck up too high for us to retrieve them. (This was quite the spectacle to behold.) In less than an hour, we had the venue back to its original form. We laughed and cut up along the way, and I was just so in love with my family right then.

Sometimes I worry about my generation of our family – that we’ll lose touch as the older generations pass on. But after Saturday I don’t see that happening. We work together so well and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. I love these guys and look forward to the day when we can get together much more often.