This weekend has been quite a contrast to the last. Last weekend we were dealing with the first anniversary of my father-in-law's death. This weekend, we had a welcome happy event. A belated party for my mother's seventieth birthday. It was a lovely evening. Fourteen of us at a gorgeous Italian restaurant. Three generations - in-laws, step-relations, grandchildren, children, siblings. So many relationships amongst the group.
And as we travelled home, nursing a bit of a hangover I must admit (praise the Lord for Diet Coke), I thought about how little time my children have spent with my aunts, uncles and cousins. My mother is one of four. Three sisters and a brother. I am one of ten cousins. We live all over the country and since the death of my grandmother twelve years ago, I don't think we have managed a date where every single person has made it along.
But my children really enjoyed meeting my aunts and uncles at the dinner party. My daughter was particularly interested in meeting my mother's elder sister and her husband as they had memories of being children during the second world war. This was a topic of hers last year and she has not lost her enthusiasm for information about it. Her own grandparents were either too young or in Ireland and did not have a great deal to share with her. So once she had got over her (pretend!) shyness, there was a lot of chatter.
So my 2016 resolution - typically a month late - is to organise a happy get-together for my mother's family. My granddad died at seventy one. My aunt was saying last night that she was sure he would have lived longer if he had gone to a doctor years earlier. He should have had, at the least, drugs to deal with hardened arteries but most probably a heart bypass. I have no fear that his children will not visit doctors but their ages are now in the seventies.
And this, combined with January's list of celebrities who have died at similar ages, brings it home that we should spend more time together. Just for the hell of it rather than because something awful has happened. There also needs to be a major exchange of information. I have previously whittered on in blog posts about making sure that you pump all available aged relations for family history snippets before it is too late. Well, I will be organising a lovely get together. But with questionnaires to fill in as you enter and no exit until you have completed it...
PS you can still vote for my first creative writing piece at www.kishboo.co.uk