“I love my Pop because he plays with me and reads stories with funny voices. He takes me in the barn and gives me rides in the cart. Pop loves me and I love him.”
These and other words reflect the sentiments of our six eldest grandchildren as we celebrated Pop’s 60th birthday this weekend. Phil’s actual birthday was September 24th, but our eldest daughter couldn’t come from the west coast until early in October. So, since Phil doesn’t put much value on special days (or holidays in general) he was fine with celebrating when all of our four children could be here together. In fact, the only request that Phil had in regard to turning 60 was celebrating with family. We did well in that regard – all four children, one brother, 8 grandchildren, one son-in-law and 2 parents-in-law.
There was lots of playing outside in the leaves, piling them up and jumping in the pile. We had a campfire and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Great grandpa lived up to his reputation of roasting the perfect marshmallow – an evenly light brown crust with a soft, oozing center. It is an art form!
The grandchildren played with a box turtle found by Great grandpa. This amazing turtle was oblivious to the children’s squeals of delight and never receded into its shell. It crawled around and every time it was picked up and moved, it stayed out of its shell and just crawled more. It eventually crept under the periwinkle and hopefully has found peace, safety, and a food source.
The little branch that runs through the yard (it is too small to call a creek) was the next center of attention. The grandchildren made “soup”, “spaghetti” and other tasty delicacies. All had wet feet (including their socks and shoes) and mud splashed on clothes. Pop found a crawdad, and the claws held fascination for the children.
We picked some of the remaining flowers in the yard and the little ones took them to their mothers (or aunt). Then they came back to me and wanted a flower for themselves!
All these activities were a time to enjoy the wonder and beauty of God’s creation. The beauty of the fall trees and colorful leaves is often appreciated this time of year. Yet seeing the turtle and crawdad were special surprises that added to the blessing of being together as a family. Picking a flower blossom, even if it is taken apart petal by petal, is a chance to examine creation first hand.
Matthew 6:28-33 New Living Translation
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
The beauty of the leaves and flowers and the wonder of the turtle and crawdad were especially meaningful because we saw the wonder of God’s creation through the wonder in the eyes of our grandchildren.
Celebrating Family with our children and grandchildren this weekend was such a blessing. It didn’t cost any money to participate in those activities outside. After the children were in bed we talked and laughed and talked some more. We discussed watching a movie or playing a game, but we were all tired and only played a game together as adults once.
Celebrating family comes in many forms – different families have unique ways to celebrate. The important part is to celebrate the blessing of being together.