Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Land of In Between

Grams and Grandad are sitting smack dab in what I call "the land of in between."  It reminds me of a favorite childhood poem by A. A. Milne, "Halfway Down".

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up,
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thought
Run round my head;
"It isn't really
It's somewhere else

This little poem sort of defines where Grandad and Grams seem to be in our lives.  We're not really the "family elders" yet, even though we are grandparents.  Both of us come from large families where we're both middle children.  Both of our families customarily had large holiday gatherings for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Independence Day.  For years we ran back and forth between our parents homes on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter - dragging our kids along with us.

Since both of my parents have passed, my siblings rarely get together on holidays, although every few years we do gather at my sister Bylinda's house for Thanksgiving or July 4th.  We've all moved on to celebrating holidays with our own children.  Grandad's family still gets together to celebrate most holidays.  Those celebrations are usually relegated to the evening before the holiday so that his siblings can gather the next day with their in-laws.

The land of in between is partly the result of having our kids in two different cities from us.  Both of our children are married; one lives in Houston and one in San Antonio.  And so far our little princess is the only grandchild.  Right now, Katy's job requires her to be in San Antonio on the weekends, so getting away is difficult.  Nick's wife works in Canada and rotates home and away two weeks at a time.  All of this makes scheduling at least challenging and sometimes downright impossible.  Such was the case this weekend for Easter. 

Saturday night, we had a family dinner at Gary and Nancy's home in Sinton.  Their kids were home and Danny and Jeanne came from Burleson.  We had Mexican food, followed by lots of desserts and we talked a lot and watched movies. 

On Sunday, we picked up my sister Kay from her group home to spend the day with us.  We went to church and then out for brunch with Mama Ruthie, Laurie, Danny and Jeanne.  Then the three of us settled at home for an afternoon of movies.  Later in the afternoon we felt the need to get out of the house, so we went for a ride out into the country to see the new wind farm in San Patricio County.  Everywhere we went we saw families together.  They were camping, picnicking, hunting eggs, barbecuing and generally celebrating together.  It really made me aware of not having our own family together to celebrate.

Grandad keeps saying that, other than Christmas, holidays are not a big deal for his family.  He once said that about Thanksgiving in front of his mother, and she looked like he had slapped her.  So, while it may not be a big deal to him, it is to me and to others.

Our Easter experience made me realize that we need to remake our celebrations to fit changing family.  Grams has resolved  that before the next holiday, I will be more proactive in planning a celebration that will be satisfying to me.  Short of that ... I'll be planning a holiday trip so I'll be elsewhere.

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