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A Birthday Surprise

(L-R: Ashley, Jessica, Mike, me, Diana, Paul behind her, Melinda and Jack, Wes, and Mitch.)

What do you get for a guy that really doesn't need anything for his eightieth birthday? That was the question his four kids asked themselves this past April when my uncle Paul had his big day. What they decided to get him was a trip to Palm Springs to see his older sister, my mother Diana, as a surprise for her ninety-third birthday.

So Mike, Debbie (not pictured above here), Melinda, and Ashley, Paul's four kids, called me to see if they could do this without anyone dying from shock. I of course said it would be fine and so the plans began to unfold. There was a last minute change of dates that forced my brother and sister to miss out on this as they had already booked their trips in on the original dates planned.

No matter, it was still a shock to my mom and I'm pretty sure she will be talking about this weekend for the rest of her life. Not surprisingly, just like me, she loves to be the center of attention so having everyone fawn over her was exciting, and dare I say, I believe she might have had the vapors once or twice.

It was all about she and her brother, sharing memories, and enjoying each others company. There were plenty of stories told by both that the kids and grandkids had never heard before and some of them gave a few of them pause, especially when they were discussing their mother, my grandmother, but those are for another time and place.

My mother is the second oldest of the eight kids and Paul is the third youngest so there are plenty of years in between them to be sure. By the time Paul was an adult me and my siblings were already teenagers. Hell, I'm only eleven years younger than Paul. He and the rest of their family were more like brothers and sisters to me than aunts and uncles.

It was really fun and nice to meet some people I had never met before like Wes and Julie along with two people I hadn't seen since they were very little kids, Mitch and Jessica. As you can see from the pictures above there was no shortage of food and drink over the weekend. I will say that by Sunday dinner everyone was pretty much low key and considerably quieter than they were on Thursday and Friday when people were shouting to be heard and my cousin Mike lost his voice by Saturday.

It was hard for me to get used to the fact that my cousins had grown kids who have lives. I struggled to get my head around that all weekend. Everyone was incredibly nice and excited to be here and share this weekend with Diana and Paul. It would have been a little nicer for them if the weather was a tad bit warmer then the upper sixties they dealt with for the weekend but considering it was in the twenties back home they were loving it and it didn't deter them from swimming at the VRBO house where they were staying.

For me the star of the weekend was this guy. Melinda and Wes son Jack. He will be one this coming week and he could not have been a better kid all weekend. It took him until Sunday night to let me hold him for any length of time but he never complained all weekend when he was passed around to everyone who all wanted to hold him. I'm afraid I won't see him again until he is driving and he won't remember me. Just an awesome kid.

So once again thanks to all the kids, and especially Mike and Melinda who were the leaders of this pack for making this a weekend to remember for us all.

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