#1 Prompt: Family: Recall a special moment with your family from 2011. Describe in detail what you want to remember about this memory forever.
#2 Prompt: Let's do lunch! - If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?
#1 -- Family .My family is scattered, both immediate and extended, and the latter is not especially close: I've written some about that this year. Our girls are in Red Bluff and Kent now (and one who has been intentionally silent for several years is, we believe, on the other coast). When my mother was living, we gathered in Missouri for Christmas, my brother coming from Nashville, the girls from Birmingham (and once from Ohio), and we spent some fun times there, although it was never without some drama and anxiety. These days any family gatherings are few and far between.
This year, one special moment was a celebration of our grandson's third birthday. It was just Tony and me with V, her three older step-children, and Gabe, at a little picnic area near their apartment. We'd brought KFC, watermelon and other side dishes, and some gifts for Gabe. They'd put up a badminton net and spread some blankets under a big tree, and for once the June weather was warm but not hot. Tony'd brought his video camera and captured images of Gabe riding his new Plasmacar and the other children and even V taking turns on it. We got to talk more to the older children than we had in the past, and really enjoyed the day with all of them: it was precious to see the love the kids have for each other. And it was a real joy to see V efficiently mothering them all, wiping faces, serving up watermelon and chicken, pouring drinks.
Never frequent for a bunch of reasons, such moments will be even fewer with them now in Washington, but we hope to visit them in 2012 and look forward to another picnic, perhaps on the shores of Puget Sound.
#2 -- Lunch. Anybody? Living or dead? Famous or not? The possibilities!
If I chose someone famous -- say, Oprah, or Hilary Clinton, or the poet Mary Oliver -- I'd probably be too nervous to enjoy the experience, and I'd expect they'd see it more as just another obligation to get through and be pleasant. So no thanks.
There are some long-ago friends I would like to see again, if only to find out how their lives have gone and what they've learned. And a handful of family members to share memories and figure out our similarities.
But I'd most like to have lunch with my parents. I'd like to know what getting older was like for them, what lessons they learned in their lives and what they'd do differently. I'd like to know how they figured out how to parent as well as they did, knowing something of how they each grew up. I'd like to know what they were most grateful for, and what their best memories were. I'd like to make sure they know how grateful I am for their love and support and non-judgmental acceptance (even when I'm sure they had doubts!), and how I miss them and think of them, especially at this time of year. I want to watch my daddy savor the good barbecued ribs he loved, and my mother taste the rich coconut cake from that little Victorian tea room she so enjoyed. I'd like once more to drink in the sound of their voices and their facial expressions and feel the touch of their hands on my face.