Back to my regular routine today after a wonderful family visit. I even had a special visit from a friend I haven't seen in over ten years and we got to reconnect. As we were chatting over lunch I said, "Isn't it great that we can talk as though we were never apart?" It was a full and eventful week. So nice... At some point, if you're really lucky, your parents become your friends. You respect them and they respect you.
I am very lucky.
My second cousin, who still lives in Haledon, New Jersey sent a package to me this week with some old photos in it. In one photo my dad was only six years old. In another he was 17 and dressed in his military uniform on the way to the Korean War. The photos spurred other conversations about family members and the lives they lived.
My own grandfather and grandmother owned a deli in North Caldwell, New Jersey. They had the store from 1947 until 1970, 23 years, when the grocery stores squeezed them out of business. Before that the local people would do all their shopping in that little deli. It had all the best of meats and wonderful products. Different lifestyles... different times. Seemed much more simple then. When my mom and dad got married they rented a little apartment for a short time just down the street from that deli. My dad said he didn't shop there very much though because his dad, my grandfather, would give things to him. He'd often give him a box of food and products off the shelves since he was a generous man. My dad didn't want to take from him since he knew my grandpa needed the money from his business to make a living... That is so characteristic of my father to not want to take advantage of anyone.
My mom has always been the heart of the family. If I can only be half as kind as her in my life it would be a lot.
I never witnessed an entitlement mentality. I didn't grow up that way. I can only remember hard work and gratitude modeled. Lots of love. I come from generous people ... We always had plenty ... and more than enough. I so wish I could give back to them for all they've given to me. But there's no way. They've given me more than I could ever repay. Edd loved, admired and respected my parents too...
When these visits end and we again make our way back to our lives and routines many states apart, I always have a profound sense of sadness and gratitude. Sad the visit had to end, but so happy we had the time together. Looking forward to the next one....