Family celebrations

Dad celebrates his 87th at the great grandkids home on the last day of the year. (Photo by Jinggoy I. Salvador)
Dad celebrates his 87th at the great grandkids home on the last day of the year. (Photo by Jinggoy I. Salvador)

CHRISTMAS and New Year’s Day. Two days best spent with the most important people in our lives. But for my family, the week had two more causes to gather and bond—the patriarch’s birthday, celebrated on the last day of the year, and his first great grandson’s birthday, which was two days earlier.

Dad is 87 this year, seven years since his biggest party hitting the 80 mark. Isn’t this an achievement? Parties every year after 80 should be as big. Having two great grandchildren may be two of his greatest gifts.

Before 2002, when mom was with us, she called the shots on dad’s day. She would be up before daybreak and getting things done before the first guest arrive for the luncheon affair. For the family, the yearend event was something to look forward to. It slows down before nightfall to gather strength for another big affair at midnight.

Parties are more intimate these days. As usual, everyone in the family makes it a point to be present. Mom may no longer be with us but thank God we were blessed with a kind-hearted family member who took her place. She extends her motherly care to everyone and she’s as great in the kitchen. Thank you.

Christmas is also a day of miracles and revelations. One popped up that would make our mom proud. Her mahjong genes manifested in her grandkids and have finally bloomed. Once again, the game table turned kitchen dining table was put to its originally intended use and the sweet sound of jumbling ivory tiles filled our home. Her heritage lives on.

The bigger party though were passed on to the first great grand kid, who enjoys all the attention from the clan. He bosses everyone around and usually gets what he wants. He mellowed down in his demanding ways when he took the roles of a kuya to a baby sister two months before turning six on December 29.

Thanks to technology, the two youngest and their families based in Texas, USA, aren’t too far away. No Christmas family photos and greetings sent thru snail mail. That’s instant over social media. And over Face Time video, they were with us during the celebrations.

A lot has changed over the years. Trends come and go but some things stay in style, like nothing beats spending the holidays with family. For us, every year we have four good reasons to gather over the seven-day period on the last stretch of the year and the first day of the next. These make the holidays extra special.

Happy New Year to all of you!

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