Here’s the song reference.
Last weekend, we celebrated Deedaw’s 75th birthday. To her delight, her sister, one of her nieces, and our beloved Zizi Carmela all made the trip down from Pittsburgh to rejoice with us that the Lord saw fit to grant us another year with a great lady.
The tiny people were all terribly excited about the prospect of a party, and Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man were all particularly happy to learn that three of their favorite relatives would be attending. Deedaw’s sister and the niece who came are wonderfully fun grown-ups who make time to play trucks, and dolls, and hairstylist, and superheroes, while Zizi Carmela, in addition to having an endless supply of kisses, has the love and the patience to sit for as long as they want, listening to whatever they want to tell her, even if she doesn’t have the vaguest idea what they’re actually saying. Since Mr. Man tends to start a conversation with one person in one room and finish it with someone else in another, that last is not an infrequent occurrence, and Baby Guy is a little tough to understand for those unaccustomed to his two-year-old vocabulary and diction.
Zizi has a soft spot for Baby Guy, who is named for her late husband. Regular readers of this blog know that we have a soft spot for Zizi. Baby Guy, however, being a highly mobile and curious toddler, has not really had the patience to sit nicely in Zizi’s lap for over a year now, and while she still adores him (and the rest of the tribe), she’s been a little hurt that the little fellow simply refuses to be held. Manie and I, figuring this would probably be the case again, spent no small amount of time and effort ensuring that he could, at least, bubble out, “Hi, Zizi,” and utter a couple of words in Italian (ciao, buona notte, and arrivederci, for the curious – and there’s not much cuter than Baby Guy trying to sputter out “arrivederci!”).
Happily, our youngest did, in fact, manage to greet his great-aunt by name, and greet her with a hearty, “Ciao, Zissy,” which made her smile and laugh, before zooming off to see what his cousin and siblings were doing with the sidewalk chalk on the back porch. On the first day of Zizi’s visit, Baby Guy did deign, several times, to approach close enough to allow Zizi to give him some hugs and kisses and tell him what a big boy he’s getting to be, and even showed her where her nose was once or twice.
On the second day of the visit, we rushed through schoolwork and headed over to have another visit with the Pittsburgh relatives before they headed home, zipped home for naps, then returned to Deedaw’s for dinner with them. We don’t get to see the Pennsylvania branches of the family very often, and they’re such wonderful company that we don’t like to squander the opportunities we’re given. The whole tribe was a little crazy for the morning half of our visit, but settled down to a relatively civilized level after a decent nap. In the afternoon, Deedaw’s sister and niece were kind enough to monitor some bike-riding time in front of the house so we could get dinner started; it was a short-lived adventure, as the weather was sufficiently hot and humid to spark altercations amongst the little ones regarding whose bike, trike, or scooter was whose.
After dinner, Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man headed outside to further decorate the back porch with sidewalk chalk, while Baby Guy remained indoors, busily searching for cookies. He was quite delighted when he discovered that there was plenty of “Happy You You” cake left, and that everyone at the table was more than happy to indulge his love of frosting and whipped cream (which is known as “foof” in Baby Guy parlance).
Having scammed at least a mouthful of sugary goodness from each and every adult at the table, Baby Guy circumnavigated the table, looking to see who might be willing to play with him. Manie and I watched hopefully as he approached Zizi’s chair . . .
. . . and could not hold back the smiles when he clambered up into her lap, where he remained for about ten minutes.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for family members willing to travel hundreds of miles to rejoice with us, and thank You for their safe travels. You have blessed us with so many of Your best people, and blessed them with length of years. Thank You for their love and their wisdom, which they freely share with us, and for their nearly endless patience with Your littlest blessings. Help us teach Your blessings that among Your greatest gifts to us are the members of their grandparents’ generation, who imbue everyday tasks with holiness by the love with which they perform them. Help us teach them that the years when those elders’ bodies weaken and memories fail are our opportunity to show them that we learned well the lessons in love You taught us through their ministry to our family, and let us never consider their frailties an inconvenience to us, but a chance to give back to them the pieces of their beautiful hearts they freely left with us.