Wouldn’t Miss it for the World (literally)

Originally, it was our plan to not touch down on US soil for all of 2009. As it turned out though, there was an event we felt we just didn’t want to miss out on. I mean, how often does your grandpa join the centenarian club? So we hit the pause button in Southeast Asia and flew to Oahu for 6 days to join with friends and family.
We stayed in Waikiki in a beautiful hotel. That’s right, that’s “H-O-T-E-L,” not “h-o-s-t-e-l.” Fresh flowers on our bathroom towels welcomed us. Come to think of it, we were geeked even that bathroom towels welcomed us. We flushed toilet paper right down the toilet with seemingly reckless abandon. There was wonderful refrigeration and we bought juice and poke to take full advantage. But the best part about the hotel was that it was 2 blocks from my sister and parents. After not seeing them for nine months, I now saw them daily. And I got to see my sister at least this once during her pregnancy.
We all, along with other family, flew in to celebrate my grandpa’s 100th birthday, which is really just an excuse to celebrate my grandpa. He’s a gentle man with an endearing, playful sense of humor. And though living to 100 is a feat in itself, it’s my grandpa’s quality of life that makes me smile. For one, he out ate me at my aunt’s dinner. And he needs all of that fuel, since he still dances and gardens. And into his nineties he swam, played tennis and drove a stick shift car with a spoiler in the back. It’s that never-ending lack of activity that I usually think of when I need to shoot down my own self-doubts. When I ran my marathon a few years ago, he was the inspiration.
After a family dinner, we sat around my aunt’s dining table. The grandkids made party favors for the upcoming celebration, and my mom and her 2 sisters were doing the seating chart. I remember thinking that I love seeing my mom interacting with her sisters. It all seems so happy and effortless. I get a glimpse into another part of her-as a sister. Maybe that’s why I think she looks even more complete whenever I see her with my aunts. I looked over to my grandpa and realized I wasn’t the only one whose attention they had caught. My mom’s and aunt’s laughter filled the area just as the house was filled with my grandpa’s daughters, son-in-laws and grandchildren. And as my grandpa looked on at his daughters and family that surrounded him, his eyes blurred from tears that swelled in them. But even they couldn’t obscure for him his legacy, our family patriarch.
Happy Birthday Grandpa.

Posted: October 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Hawaii | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »