Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Familial Mitosis

Here we are, in 2010. I know I’m late, but I’m not alone; the first baby at the local hospital didn’t arrive until Jan 2nd.

The entire year-end rhythm was thrown off a bit this year by the vast amount of frozen water that fell from the sky and was blown into large piles on every exposed surface. Since I have one of those get-there-no-matter-what jobs, I walked out of my drifted-in mobile home park to the main road to meet a 4WD to get to work on Christmas Day and the 26th. At least I wasn’t one of the poor plow drivers trying to keep emergency routes open until it let up enough for them to actually accomplish something.

This reminded me that I have spent almost my entire working life as “essential personnel”, as the closure announcements say. I recall passing a snow plow at 4:30 AM as it was about to start working on Skyline Drive to get to KEVN, and walking to Public TV in a snow storm so bad they were ticketing people for driving in the Vermillion city limits. Someday I would like to be able to look out the window and say “Well, I’m not making it to work today” then go back to bed.

Unlike many holiday plans, our family gathering in Brookings had previously been scheduled for the weekend after New Year’s Day, so nothing had to be changed and all went well, with the usual copious amounts of food and drink and the kids acquiring considerable swag. The biggest problem is space for everyone, especially now that most of the kids are beyond the go-outside-and-play age. We may have to rent a facility of some sort in the future, or limit the big get-together to months when it can be held outdoors.

Grandbaby went with my wife, my daughter and me, and she had a good time once she got used to so many people, especially the ones who look like me. She is also a harbinger of the future of our family get-togethers. The oldest of my parents’ grandkids turned 21 last August (the same age as Grandbaby’s Mom), and two more are out of high school. In what will no doubt seem like no time more of Grandbaby’s generation, along with new spouses, will be adding to the mix and this gathering will eventually give way to gatherings based around the younger Grandparents.

I’ve largely enjoyed the short time I’ve spent in the patriarchal chair courtesy of my wife’s kids, so I think this is a good development, even if it means assuming a role associated with a certain age, perhaps even because it means that. I’ve said for years that I’m waiting for my age to align with my mindset: it looks like I’m getting there.