Yesterday was like a day-long party, full of treats and surprises and good things to eat. Mrs. Crolley and I decided that we had to see the grandbabies, so we left home shortly before dawn and arrived at our destination three hours later. The first treat of the visit was seeing two-year-old Brooke and her sweet mama outside waiting for us. After hugging the blond headed tyke and her mother, we went inside and spent a few minutes folding children’s clothes, all so little and cute.

We had an hour before picking Braden up from preschool so we sunk down into the comfortable sofas and watched a DVD that Carrie had creatively put together for the Maseda family reunion. It was wonderful; I alternately laughed and cried (well, almost) as I watched the story of Rich’s family evolve over the past 35 years…longer, since photographs of his grandparents were also included. Finally Baby Emma woke up, and that was yet another treat. Still sleepy, she stared at us with her huge blue eyes but was not quite ready to leave her mother’s secure arms.

11:45…time to load up the van and collect Braden from preschool. Book bag strapped to his back, he walked out of the side door with Miss Crissy holding his hand as they both walked over to the car. He spotted his great grandmother and me and gave us a dimpled smile. I had a fleeting sense of déjà vu, for it seemed just a few years ago (not 28!) when Carrie, Braden’s mother, was walking out a side door of preschool. Another town, another time, same scenario.

We motored over to a nearby eatery for a tasty lunch. Since there was lots of variety on the menu, we all got our favorites ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to salad and croissants. I even had a couple of surprises in my salad, artichokes and sun dried tomotoes. Yum. We all loved the ambience of the place. Warm reds, cool greens, and khaki covered the walls, and round tables with mismatched chairs were scattered about the wood floors. The children had to make a trip to the potty, of course, and the walls were a deep eggplant. Everyone ate heartily, even Baby Emma who sampled some bread crumbs and ice water.

Lunch behind us, we boarded the van and went for a ride in the countryside before heading home. Once there, we all gathered around the kitchen table for some healthy wedges of caramel cake that Grandmother had brought. Emma LOVED it…so much so that I had to get another piece since she ate so much of mine. Yes, I know she’s only five months old, but still. While feeding her yet another sweet taste, it hit me that we were having a party, a day-long celebration of family, love, togetherness, and life itself.

Feeling “fat and happy” with cake and cold milk, we adjourned to the family room where we watched some entertaining DVDs of Rich as a child and young man. Braden and Brooke were captivated by this younger version of their father. After the “movie,” Braden and Brooke wanted to dance for us so Carrie put in a CD with lots of their favorites, including one of James Brown’s; I don’t know the name of it…just some of the words: “Baby, Baby, Baby.”

With the music blaring and the children dancing around with abandon, that kitchen was a happening place. Grandmother joined in, and I held Emma while Carrie taped the moves and fancy footwork for posterity. A natural dancer, Carrie had to get in on the action, so I took the camera while she took the baby to the dance floor. Ranging in age from five months to 83 years, they were “getting down.” What a party! What fun! How great to be alive and witness such exuberance and high spirits. How wonderful to celebrate life and love and family!    

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