This past weekend I celebrated my 69th birthday. The significance of this particular one was the convergence of family. You see Brendan's family, which now included Quinn Rose (3 months) was coming from their home in Portland. This fact, meaning all of my sons and their offspring would be in one location at the same time, unusual, prompted me to invite my sister. We haven't seen each other in nearly a decade, and she has never seen her great grand nieces and nephews, so a perfect storm had emerged. After some logistical finagling all was set. She arrived. Brendan arrived. Brother Casey lives near so no problem there. Cassidy and Lauren opened their home for the festivities.
69 years old, wow! My memory swirls like I'm in a time tornado, visualizing myself as a youngster sitting at my grandfather's knee, looking up at his white hair, cigar smoke spiraling toward the ceiling, and thinking how incomprehensible and different older people and old age was. Bam! Now I'm my grandfather. How did I get here? Do my grandkids look at me and wonder, wonder if I ever played games, or ran fast, or laughed out loud, probably. I look at myself and wonder where it all went. The mind in all it's trickery, desire, tells me, yes I can, but the body, the bones, the muscles, the physical screams differently. The swirling continues as my life and all the phases, phases I've nurtured and wish lasted forever, phases leading to destruction, halted abruptly and dismissed, phases I return to periodically to remember, all swirling in the tornado of my mind. Yet here I stand. Fortunate! I've learned a few things, while trying to stay awake during this lifetime. It's pretty simple really, and fundamental, don't dwell on the past so that is paralyses you, and don't be anxious about the future so that it paralyses you. Well, that leaves trying with some effort to live in the present. I guess at 69 it's a bit easier to live in the present, because the future is at arms length and the past, you know what they say, the memory is the first to go.
So having my sibling with me, who knows when that will happen again, if ever, meant a great deal.
I also think the significance of our convergence worked in reverse. My sons and their wives and children have never seen the Raher crew together, so I'm sure they all derived some insight into the strengths and flaws DNA hands down to those unsuspecting progeny. Never the less they are Rahers and will carry that name come what may. I might add, now in the present, having family, a family that not only survived but will now thrive, fills me with immeasurable joy, pride, satisfaction and tears!!