Thursday, November 17, 2016

When the Bough Breaks...

     When the faraway residents of the family come to visit, it is always a cause for celebration. As soon as Chelsea announced the dates she would visit with Simon and Hugo this fall, we all began to make plans. My part of the planning centered around sleeping arrangements for ten guests and food for seven days. Steve's part was to oversee our annual bonfire that would culminate on the weekend. We were blessed with perfect weather for the entire duration of the week. Temperatures remained in the sixties every day and the nights became chilly enough to feel cozy. The grandchildren (and big children) played, others hiked, and some romped in the fields and bushwhacked trails. The menfolk sampled their fare share of beer, and we all ate a lot.
     Simon wielded the chainsaw for two days and finished cutting down the large tree that fell over the summer. The older portions of the tree, mainly the leafy branches that were already dry, had been piled earlier this summer to fuel the bonfire that we knew would eventually come. The newly cut trunk and larger branches will fuel our wood stove next winter. I've never seen anyone work so long and hard to cut up a tree, yet consider it play as did Simon.
     Claire and Daniel's children all have November birthdays so, we included birthday gifts as part of the weekend celebration. Each child is so unique and it's fun to see their personalities blossom as the years go by. During one quiet moment on Sunday afternoon, I looked out back and saw Steve pushing Jack on the swing. The swing hangs from a tree way out back, up on the hill. While Steve pushed Jack on the swing, Jack yelled out to the hills and fields in order to hear his echo. On and on he swung and on and on he yelled.
     I love being Nonni and I hope for all the grandchildren to have happy memories of coming to Nonni and Pop's as the years go by. We received news that a new grandchild will join the family next summer. Chelsea and Simon are expecting a baby brother or sister for Hugo. Oh boy! (or girl!)
     As our lives cycle with births and deaths, joys and sorrows, I bade another goodbye to my mom at the bonfire when I placed some of her personal belongings on the flames. There were certain items that remained after her passing that I felt too personal to dump in the landfill or to donate to charity. With a heavy heart I carried these to the fire and whispered to her how much I miss her. It's impossible for my heart not to break all over again each time I confront this loss. Surrounded by the children was the best possible way to surge through the sorrow.

Simon works on what remains of the fallen tree.
Hugo is nine months old!
Claire, Chelsea, Henri, and Jack

Tess and Ian

Jack waves from the treehouse.
Simon builds the small fire for roasting hot dogs.

Fashioning roasting sticks was part of the fun.
Jared and Audrey
All of our play took place under the beautiful Super Moon

Daniel and Matthew, Claire and Mari
Lighting the bonfire

Chelsea and her roasting stick

The guys worked very hard to keep the fire safe and contained
Steve keeping watch with rakes and shovels while Tess enjoys a snack. (potato soup or tirimisu?)   
Steve's brother Jim even happened to join us on his way home from North Carolina to New York!


  1. What a lovely, lovely time. I love when you post about your family. And congratulations on the new baby on the way. You are blessed with so many now!

    I teared up about your mom and putting her things on the fire - I know that was hard, but am so glad you had your family with you.

  2. What lovely memories are being made with these simple family traditions like the bonfire. I know what you mean about having some of your late mother's belongings that are too personal to have donated. Two years after my own mother's passing, I have similar items, and with the 2 year anniversary coming up next month, I am considering my options as well. Glad younwere surrounded by family when younmade this hard decision and I'm sure your mother was with you in spirit as well.