Somewhere on Facebook recently, I think I properly described what was about to happen at my house the next three weeks as a “zoo.”
Maybe that isn’t the most flattering term for family members, but I’m sure many of you get the picture.
A “zoo” in terms of family happenings means “a lot of people.” And that is exactly what my wife and I knew was about to happen starting last week when my son’s girlfriend flew in from Oklahoma to visit here for a week, and my Colorado daughter Jenny, wife to the Army man currently in Afghanistan, showed up on Friday night with her family of three small children.
You have to understand that Jenny and the three little ones, ages 3 months to 6 years, doesn’t mean they are at my house alone. You see, when Jenny gets here, it means my other girls and my other grandkids come over as well.
So you can start doing the math and see that it isn’t going to be unusual for us to have around 10, 11, maybe 12 people here quite frequently for the next three weeks, and consequently, the “zoo” term applies quite nicely, I believe.
As for the “zoo,” we actually like everyone quite nicely so it’s all good to have the visit once in a while, especially since Jenny and her husband have been given their next assignment that will be in Hawaii. They will be there for three years so it’s going to be a long time between opportunities to see them all. So even though the zoo can get a bit taxing, we are happy to have them here.
The real fun happens when my oldest daughter Chrissy comes by with her two children, also equally small and full of energy, and then you have four who are playing quite loudly. Thankfully, the 3-month-old isn’t jumping up and joining the fun just yet, but trust me, when you aren’t used to little children running around yelling and playing, four of them is quite enough.
I notice that some grandparents seem to tune it all out and then there are others, like my wife and myself, who like the peace and quiet we usually have so we get worn down easily by small children.
Still, as my wife reminded me, the visit will be over before long and then we will be missing the fact they are not here, so we are happy to see their little faces, with all their questions, and all their energy.
We had a great evening heading to the Bay St. Louis beach on Sunday, an old tradition my wife and I used to have when our children were small. My wife is a very good photographer, at least until I confiscated her camera for The Slidell Independent, and she took a lot of wonderful pictures of our three girls when they were small—many of them at the beach with the sun setting.
We seemed to recapture a little of that magic on Sunday when everyone—and I mean everyone—caravanned to the beaches in three cars. It was a memorable evening just being with the little kids and our big kids, who are recreating some of the fun we had years ago.
I looked at the chaos the other night, with kids and grandkids all over the place and remarked to my wife, “well, I guess we created all this, didn’t we?”
She smiled and hugged me, happy for all the family we are enjoying as we get older—even if we both could use a little extra nap here or there.
Got a great story from a woman who cuts my hair, Cheryl King Adams, who works at Hair Port on Second Street in Slidell.
Cheryl has been there for 14 years and gives me a nice, neat haircut that was not easy to find as I searched through many hair cutters and hair stylists in town. That’s a story for another day.
In my most recent haircut with Cheryl, something got us talking about a pet peeve of mine—older people who claim they “couldn’t learn the computer.”
The reason that is a pet peeve of mine is that I deal with a lot of middle age and senior folks who need to e-mail me information, but some of them never wanted to take the time to learn the computer, and now claim they can’t. I will openly say that I don’t believe most of them “couldn’t” learn the computer. Let’s be honest and say what it really is: they don’t want to learn.
Cheryl told me that her mother, all of 83 years of age, is a woman who has been living alone for many years after her husband died 16 years ago. She told Cheryl that she has limited friends to talk to and wanted to get connected with more people.
Cheryl continued to tell her about getting a computer, and trying Facebook, so finally her mom, Lillie King, did just that. She got a computer on her I-Phone and has turned into the newest Facebook member.
As a former local school bus teacher for 25 years, Cheryl said her mom has connected with many former students who rode her bus. She has made friends again and now has a whole new life, thanks to the computer she decided to learn.
I had to pass that story along since it is such a great one, and hopefully will be encouragement for older folks who claim they “can’t” learn the computer. There is a whole world waiting for you on the Internet, and I hate to see how many are missing out, and even lonely in their latter years, since they don’t want to do what it takes to get trained on the computer.
It will be the best investment of time and finances you will ever make.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com