“So, are you going to the party on the weekend?” Big brother raised an eyebrow and cocked his head to one side. “Well?”
I hadn’t forgotten…but the memory of the invitation had been packed away as carefully as our glassware in bubble wrap – which we were still discovering in the pile of boxes that littered the floor.
My aunt was turning 90 and a surprise party had been arranged quite some time ago – on the same weekend that our container was due to arrive. I’d expected to be knee-deep in boxes however, by some miraculous stroke of fate, everything had arrived a week early. But as I eyed off the clutter we were living amongst – and trying to ignore – I realised:
- The bedrooms had beds in them;
- The kitchen was workable – and even contained some food; and
- There was a good stock of loo paper.
What more did we need? After all, she was turning 90. So why not?
The “do” was an afternoon tea in Corowa, a lovely little spot on the Victorian/New South Wales border. It was a good three-hour drive and I decided to drive up with my brother, leaving the family behind to enjoy a little more unpacking. Staying overnight would have been great, but timing was a little tight. My brother had to be in Queensland on Monday and I was starting the new job, so we decided we’d better go up and back in the day.
So off we went! W and I had done loads of these trips in the past and it was great to be on the road again. Before I left Australia, we used to talk almost daily but with time-differences, small children and school routines, the habit was not easily replicated overseas. Those little routines, that closeness you have with your family – it’s sorely missed when you’re away.
After a quick brunch in a quaint little town, we drove on and suddenly we were there. And it felt wonderful. Over the years, I’ve lost count of the birthdays, weddings, christenings we’ve missed and to finally be able to attend something was fabulous.
There’s just something special about being immersed in your family – that sense of belonging, that you’re a part of something bigger. Of course, a lot had changed – we were all a little older, there were a few new additions to the clan and even I was rolling out the phrase “Gee, haven’t you grown!”
Auntie J had a terrific time and the afternoon rolled into evening far too quickly. Then it was decision time. Do we crash on a couch for the night or take the sensible option and head home? Big bro, always the party guy, surprised me by choosing the sensible option.
Perhaps we’ve all grown up…just a little.