This is a big birthday month in our family. Last week I had a big birthday and was thrilled to be celebrating it with my family, at least the ones who live in the United States. Mark and I went out for dinner with daughters Nancy and Dorri, granddaughters Anna and Nina, Dorri’s boyfriend, Steve, my dear cherished friend of many years, Mickey, and her daughter, Rifka (whom I first met when she was 18 months old and my oldest was 12 months). I loved the poems that Anna and Nina wrote for me and the photo montage of family and friends that Dorri created. It was a casual get-together where we went to a little restaurant, ordered loads of hors d’oeuvres and light entrees and passed everything around the table, so we all had tastes of everything. And I got to talk a little bit with everyone – good tastes there too. Which is how I like to live life – enjoying little tastes of lots of experiences.
Now next week Mark and I will be celebrating with our daughter Jenny, who’s having a big birthday herself, and this time we’ll be enjoying eating experiences (along with other experiences -- but eating certainly is a big part of most celebrations!) with Jenny and her three children. Aside from family meals and a special dinner out, by tradition in the little town where she lives (and maybe throughout Germany), birthdays are celebrated with kaffeetrinken – wonderful home baked cakes and coffee in the mid- to late- afternoon, enjoyed with family and close friends. Maybe we’ll even eat the brownies I baked after special requests from Maika and Lisa (no nuts) and Jenny (yes, nuts). So I made both kinds, and again we’ll have choices – and tastes.
It’s hard to live so far away from children and grandchildren, especially around special occasions, but we’re very lucky that we can stay in touch in so many ways – free or cheap ways to phone, along with email, of course, and even an occasional postcard or letter – which usually takes only two or three days to travel between New York and Germany. My birthday card from grandson Stefan came in the form of a note in a bottle – only the bottle was designed to carry postage and to be mailed – a little more reliable than dropping the bottle in the Atlantic. Of course, we’re even luckier that we can make occasional visits there and that they can come here – not as often as we all would like, but precious when they do occur.
So I won’t be writing in these pages for a few weeks, and meanwhile I send good wishes and happy celebrating to all grannies and grandkids – and to the generation in between.
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