It’s taken a long time — let’s blame jet lag, several mini trips since then and a busier than ever work schedule, oh! And it’s tiring to grow a new person–but now that that’s out of the way… Florida was so fun!
We had a great time with Paul’s family, especially the cousins.
Most of the time.
Went to the beach every day.
There was even a cat.
And ate over-sized meals and drinks. Sometimes more than one!
It was a really nice time with everyone.
We had big news and wanted to surprise our families…
Since we’d be in the States soon, Paul and I bought a t-shirt for Phoebe online and had it shipped to his parents’ house. But the name on Paul’s Amazon.com account is under Robert Mathews, who promptly opened the package when it arrived. What followed was an email from them including a photo of the shirt and many of these: !!!??!!
Paul’s mom and dad thought this was our way of telling them. No wonder they were surprised.
They were great sports though and kept our secret until we could get to Florida and parade Phoebe around in her new shirt. The funniest part though was that neither of Paul’s sisters, Holly and Heather, really got it. They were trying to be so polite and didn’t want to “assume anything”. They must have thought I really needed to get serious on the post-Phoebe weight loss plan (which is probably true but another story).
A week later in Seattle my mom caught on immediately. Right there on the curb of the airport pickup area she saw the shirt, saw me and squealed. Apparently my lack of blogging was a big hint to everyone at home as well.
One more week passed and we made it back to Italy in time to join friends for a long weekend at a seaside town called Pineto, where Paul’s friend Dante visited every summer as a kid. His family still lives there. We tried the shirt again but only one person really saw it, then the rest of the crowd was just sort of confused. Even though they’d all had suspicions for months, it wasn’t really the announcement we thought it would be. So, the shirt is now retired. I’m afraid this is what we get for trying to be clever. Next time we’ll just call everyone.
By the way, if all continues to go well Baby Mathews Due should be coming in the first week of February. No t-shirt required.
For my whole life, I’ve shared my birthday week with a family member. And not just any family member. My dad’s was May 31 and he loved his birthday. Every year it meant a full day of family and friends, beer and volleyball on the lawn. Sun, shorts, Styxx blasting through open windows, icy coolers packed with Rainier and my grandpa’s six-pack of “Oly” tucked safely in the fridge.
The party started just before noon. I remember the crunch of gravel every time a new car arrived. Ben and I would race out to see who it was, opening the doors for our guests like extremely small, extremely friendly valets. Family members, neighbors, co-workers, everyone bringing a pasta salad, a case of beer, maybe a present and already laughing and joking as they walked in the door.
Volleyball became a big party thing for us in the 80s. I’m not sure what inspired it but these games were legendary. Young and athletic, my parents, cousins and friends batted a beach ball over, under and through that net all day long. Time outs for drinks, a quick burger and of course cake, were expected. Sometimes, depending on how serious the competition was and how strong each team was playing, the kids got to join in too. But this wasn’t a casual thing. You had to pull your weight and if you missed too many balls or flung them off into the field or something, you’d easily be subbed out. No matter. The sidelines were full of action too. Cheering, booing, trash talking were just as important as the plays.
When it came time to cut the cake and sing the song, it was usually a joint dedication for us both, “happy birthday dear CharityandPat, happy birthday to you”. I’d get to sit with my dad and together blow out the candles.
I miss those parties and I miss my dad. But at least I have someone to share the birthday season with again. Phoebe’s birthday is May 31.
Filed under Phoebe, Trips