Previously I mentioned that we celebrated Father’s Day early at our house because I mistakenly thought it was the weekend before it actually occurred. Anthony had no idea when it was, either, so he was more than happy to accept whatever date I told him. This is usually how it works in our household except for the fact that I usually know what I’m talking about. We became aware of my error when I talked to my Dad the following day to wish him a belated Father’s Day (I had called him that night but couldn’t get a hold of him). No worries, this time I decided to invite my family over and have a dinner for Father’s Day part deux.
It was nice to have a whole day devoted to Anthony and just Anthony. As I already mentioned, I have no regrets, Anthony got to spend the day doing something he truly loves, and we didn’t have to worry about paying our respects to other family members. I told Anthony that he can give me a whole day to myself before Mother’s Day and we’re square.
The actual Father’s Day came around and I got to work on dinner. Anthony’s parents already had plans and my sister is in Hawaii so our guest list included only my parents and my Grandmother. I tend to think that food on the table with maybe the addition of some flowers in small glass jars is all a table really needs if you have good company. My Mother is from the slightly older school of thought that sees centerpieces as necessary accompaniments to formal meals, along with good linens and fine China.
In the interest of compromise I suggested we create a centerpiece honoring my Dad and Anthony by putting things on the table that represented them. For Anthony I set out knights on horseback and a dragon. My Mom brought a giant chunk of crystal (my Dad is kind of a rock hound) and a hand-carved eagle from Alaska. At the last minute she added a goofy moose and a small stuffed Walter the Farting Dog that both perplexed and delighted Isobel.
Although the meal was just a casual family gathering I used some thrift store linens and I know my Mother and Grandmother approved. Before dinner we used Skype to talk to my sister in Hawaii. My 90+ year old grandmother had never heard of Skype, of course, and thought it nothing short of a miracle, which it is in a way. I take so much technology for granted when it really is amazing to be able to connect with my sister over thousands of miles over the ocean.
My Grandmother’s parents emigrated from Sweden, and my Great Grandmother came with the sad certainty that she’d never see her mother or father again. There were no flights across the Atlantic, just one long, dangerous, expensive boat ride that went one way. She decided, like so many others, that the opportunities in America were worth the struggles and the sadness being apart from her family would cause. They wrote numerous letters and sent photos back and forth, but nothing can replace seeing your family.
My Grandma was literally amazed that we could not only talk to my sister over the computer, just like that, but we could also see her. Her reaction really made me grateful to live in this age when technology can connect us to family anywhere in the world. It also made me grateful that I have a family that I want to connect with, no matter how far away they are.