Let's get this straight, right off, when our children and their spouses and our grandchildren are here with us, it's like heaven pulled down to earth, like 'the best it can be', like glory!!!
And when they're gone and it's just Bern and me and the dog and the cat and the bird and our house all to ourselves--as it's been for a night and a day now--well, 'normal' has settled in again.
Our children are 39 and 36, for goodness sake, and though Mimi lived with us for a year or so before she moved to New York for good, it's been 14 years since anyone lived with us for more than three or four days. "Normal" is that. And 'normal' is good.
Only Mimi (without Tim) will be with us for Christmas and she'll leave that Holy Day to catch a plane to Florida to be with Tim and his parents for the rest of the holiday. Josh and Cathy and the girls will be on a cruise with Dr. and Mrs. Chen, Cathy's parents.
So, this Thanksgiving, when all of them--Mimi and Tim and Josh and Cathy and Morgan and Emma and Tegan--were all with us, may not happen many times again. Thanksgiving seems to be the best bet in the near future for that to happen.
We'll go on vacation with Mimi and Tim for September's to come on Oak Island, North Carolina.
We'll go to Baltimore to be with Josh and Cathy and the girls several times a year. But the gathering of the clan will not happen often.
The 'normal' of our lives is that Bern and me and the creatures will be here and those we love so wondrously will be somewhere else.
I remember when Bern and I decided the holidays should have our parents come to us and not the other way around. That hasn't happened yet for us, but might, soon.
So here we are: a dog, a cat, a bird, a woman and a man in Cheshire, Connecticut, in the Northern Hemisphere of this planet where we live, which is how it is most of the time has been for 14 years or so.
This is 'normal'. And it is very good indeed. It's what we're used to and what we love.
A dog, a cat, a bird, a woman and and man do very well being who they are, alone, for most, most of the time.
We love it when they come or when we go to them. But this is the 'normal' normal. And it is just fine with us, thank you. Better than 'fine', when it comes to it, something beyond that....
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