We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday at Natsunoya Tea House this afternoon.
For long stretches of my childhood, my mother’s side of the family consisted of herself and her father, Papa Joe. Consequently, we never split time – especially the holidays – between two sides. We always did things at “Grandma and Grandpa’s house” in Pearl City. My grandmother and grandfather had 5 children. Those five gave my grandparents a total of eight grand-children, and that was pretty much my childhood outside of baseball: hanging out with my brothers and cousins.
I was given the honor of saying grace before our meal and felt compelled to thank God for the good fortune of a loving family. We’ve more or less avoided major drama and tragedy, we generally get along well. Don’t get me wrong, there are many different personality types, a range of interests, various skill sets, and areas of employment. We all just seem to mesh together. As a kid, it was my only family experience, so I thought it was normal and true for all families. It wasn’t until high school that I began to understand how lucky I had been. As an adult and as a parent, I am specifically appreciative of the stability my family provided all of us. My parents and their generation were and are great role models. They learned from my grandmother and grandfather.
Happy birthday, Grandma. Thank you for always greeting us with open doors, open arms, cold drinks in the outside fridge, and Tuperware containers of snacks. Thank you for making the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever, then cutting them into strips or triangles. Thank you for continuing to be the center of our family.