Yesterday, my mother-in-law and my husband G. celebrated their birthdays. He was born at five minutes to midnight and just made it under the wire on her birthday long ago. Among his other five siblings, his mother has always had a special place in her heart for him. We brought over the glass flutes for chilled Minuetto Prosecco along with some sparkling white grape juice to toast the birthday folks.
Six of us sat down to a lobster dinner, cooked and served with well-honed ceremony: testing that the lobsters were done by the sniff test taken on the landing looking into the kitchen. Expert chopping up of the cooked lobsters so that the meat was easy to extract from the shell. Boiling water was poured into bowls set with dishes on top containing warm, melted butter for tender morsels of lobster.
Afterwards, we were joined by more family and shared a birthday cake from a favorite bakery and then, taking turns, opened birthday cards. This is a family where cards are read aloud and savored. They are more important than anything, including gifts. Gram turned ninety-four yesterday and was in good spirits surrounded by her family. Nothing makes her happier than that. G. was in fine spirits too, taking good natured ribbing as everyone joined in the fun of getting together and telling stories about when they were kids.
More and more as time goes by, I am struck by how simple life can be. It almost feels like some kind of bell curve where things settle down to the essentials sooner or later: putting aside differences to be present at a celebratory dinner while birthday cards are read aloud. A good time was had by all.