I have a very big family. My Mom is one of 7 children, my Dad is one of 6. My late maternal Grandmother. Rita, is one of 11 children! I have cousins, aunts and uncles all over the world – and I am close to all 18 of my first cousins. I feel very lucky to be part of my family, and it is a family that continues to grow – as weddings and births are celebrated.
My sister gave birth to my precious nephew during lockdown. We live in the same city but I can’t visit them – meet my little Godson; and make my sister a cup of tea and give her love. This is very hard – for us all. My Mom isn’t able to meet him either. I remember that when I gave birth to my two children, the most comforting feeling was having my mom stay with us for a week – because Moms know best!
Today, would have been Rita’s 90th birthday. We have celebrated so many birthdays together as a family; everyone traveling from their various cities and countries to be together in one place. When I was a child, we would all get together on a Sunday and have lunch at Rita’s house. The adults would sit under the big, shady Mulberry tree, someone swaying in the hammock; while the children ran around the garden or played in the tree house. You can imagine Christmas lunches together! Lots of people, an abundance of food, presents, multiple conversations, laughter and of course the obligatory paper fight across the table. Every few years, a new addition would be added to the celebration.
These memories will forever be etched in my mind as great ones! And we have been lucky to carry on this tradition with our own children, the new generation. I remember Rita’s 80th birthday like it was yesterday. My son was only 4 months old, and Rita got to meet her first great-grandchild, Max.
Today, many of the family got together via the Zoom App to celebrate Rita’s birthday. It was great to ‘see’ everyone and it was just like a family gathering – talking over each other, tea drinking and laughter.
But when we were finished – I felt an immense sadness. I had always just taken these gatherings for granted. They just happened. And now they can’t happen in person, for a while I think, while the COVID-19 pandemic keeps us in lockdown. I am grateful for technology, but there is nothing quite like the happy noise of a big family gathering. Happy Birthday Rita!
Yours in good food and lots of love, Dianne