Thanksgiving weekend was big doings around our house this year.

Darby, the newest member of the clan at the ripe old age of 5 months, was coming to visit… for 6 days, no less!!

Oh, and son Michael and daughter-in-law Michelle came along, too.

Auntie Ju Ju and DarbyYou see, this was a special and unusual time.  As there are two families to host holidays and since no one lives near anybody else, the holidays get split each year.  Thanksgiving is not our holiday.  We have one in the Spring.

But this year, we all were guests at a friend’s local wedding held over the holiday weekend and so, bingo, we hosted Thanksgiving. Michael’s sister Judith (aka Auntie Juju…by her own choice!) spent much of the weekend with us, enraptured with Darby. Our 96 year old aunt managed to find the strength to come, just to see the baby.  Darby’s great uncle from Georgia made the trip, too.  Yes, a special time, indeed.

We had prepared as best we could for the grand arrival.  We were offered no less than 4 pack-n-play units from friends, we bought a package of diapers (how strange was that!  BTW, there are too many types to choose from…what do they all mean??), we moved the humidifier into the baby’s room for her left-over congestion, we loaded up on food…and food…and more food.  We spent days and nights preparing all the old favorites to serve.  We even practiced making homemade pie crusts…a first around here!  And then made real pies to serve.

We have been empty nesters for a long while now.  Two people living in a house that used to hold a bustling family.  We are used to it being quiet.  So it was both a change and a treat to have lots of people in and out and the sound of a baby once again here with us.   We delighted in having non-stop smile moments with Darby.  She is a good baby.  No, wait, she is a great baby!  92% of the time she is happy and prone to smile.  She loves her teething toys, she loves her hands and feet, she just loves everything in her emerging world.  And that was so much fun to watch and enjoy.  And when she had her fussy moments, well, Mom and Dad were there to fix it all.  Perfect!

We got to babysit one evening.  It was a lot of fun.  We had been given a whole routine to follow.  Playing, changing, feeding, burping, sleeping…all the steps.  It wasn’t so hard to recall doing this all the first time around.  But, boy, babies are a lot of time and work.  And they come first, no matter what, in demanding and receiving attention.  As it should be.

We stay close to our son and his new family. We visit by plane for weekends every 6-8 weeks.  We Skype a lot. We have a special song we sing every time to Darby, in the hope she will eventually connect the song with the faces who sing it.  We are beginning plans for a beach vacation time together in the summer.  We do the best we can to stay connected and to be part of the new family’s life and building traditions.

But we are still envious of those with grandchildren who are a 20 minute drive away.  Who can spend a Sunday afternoon as a family time.  Who can help take care of a grandchild for a day, either regularly or when needed.  Family helps, when help is needed.  Family helps to build memories that children need.  Family matters.  And we wish we could do these things without the need for time and travel planning. But we make do and will continue to do so, as we can think of no more important activity.

We had a great time over Thanksgiving.  We know why young people are the ones to have children!  As hosts and partial Darby-care providers, we were tired when the long weekend was over.  But we were thrilled to have her with us and relish the chance whenever we can to do it again!