Today is the baby shower for my first grand baby! My husband is a huge Mariner's fan (Seattle baseball) and he picked out some cute little Mariner clothes for our first grandson the last time we were in Seattle. Because I love musical stuffed animals, I found a darling little musical moon that plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. So cute. The time is getting near.... November 26.... and I'm getting more and more excited.
I'm happy that Little No-ah* will have all of his family nearby. My kids weren't so fortunate and if I had it to do all over again, I would definitely have moved closer to family. I'm afraid they missed out on so many family gatherings and don't have the same memories and family ties as other children who are raised among their families. You see, when I followed my boyfriend to Juneau over 35 years ago, I didn't know a soul here. This was his adventure and I was just in love, tagging along.
Juneau is an interesting place. It's where all the misfits go! Most of us are transients that live here; we've come from Down South to get away from something or another; maybe we're looking for something. It's a town of friends who take care of each other. Once here, it captures your heart. It's a place like no other place. The beauty. The wildlife. The way of life. Our circle of friends were our family and we celebrated every holiday and special event together with our kids growing up with their kids. This was our family.
But hindsight is 50/50 and I know now that friends can't replace your real family permanently. We can make new memories and have special relationships with friends but it's our family history and family traditions that we carry with us as we get older. It's what we pass down to our children. I don't have the same stories to hand down to my children (or my grandchildren) as do other members of the family because I wasn't physically present, participating in the gatherings, the laughter, the daily contact. This is my regret.
So here's Little No-ah*. He'll make his appearance soon with all his family nearby. And then, this summer, my other little grand baby will be born. They are the beginning of a new cycle of family traditions and memories to hand down to their children when they're grown. Stories to tell of sleepovers with cousins and Christmas Eves spent with Grandma Norton and Christmas Days with Grandma Vuille; days spent fishing with Grandpa and how all of their family was there for every birthday. Little No-ah will have memories of which grandma had the cookie jar filled with his favorite homemade cookies and which grandma took him ice skating. He'll grow up as part of the family and not just a visitor from Alaska a couple times a year. I am so thankful for Little No-ah and Tracy's baby because they are bringing the true meaning of family back. They'll be able to pass on old traditions and old memories passed down through the ages, but also be able to share new memories and new traditions. The circle of life.
So that's all I wanted to say today. If you have chosen to move away from family for whatever reason, or if you don't stay in touch with family, take a minute today to pick up the phone and call or even write a short note. Nothing can take the place of family.
*Little No-ah is not his real name. But because my kids couldn't come up with a nickname, I had to make one up. You can't say "is IT kicking yet?" or "is the baby doing good?" Bucky said every time Michelle says "no," she added an "ah" to it. So there you have it. No-ah. Besides, I like the name!