February 29, 2008

Last week, we went to Phoenix. Actually, it was really Surprise Arizona. Steve and I had never been to AZ before so it was a new experience. I had been to the Grand Canyon, but this was different. First of all, we drove. Last time, a friend of mine, who has a great sense of direction, drove it. When Steve and or I enter the driver's seat for an adventure out of Las Vegas (sometimes in Las Vegas) you can be sure we get lost. It's an ongoing situation that we either argue or laugh. In other words, it's a given that we will not get to our destination without a detour. However, this time we were prepared. I got the instructions from Google and my GPS system and at 7:22am Sunday morning we were out the door and in our car and on the road. We enjoyed it. We enjoyed each other and caught up on our week. We got to our destination in 4 hrs and we still do not know how we did it in the short amount of time.

Anyway, we went for a snack and then checked into the hotel and I took a nap. Steve, on the other hand, went looking around by foot. The hotel was conveniently located near a grocery store so he walked there and back. When he returned, he met up with my brother and sister-in-law who flew in from NY. Unfortunately for them, it was a rocky flight. They (the three of them) agreed to meet at 4:45pm. We had a surprise 70th birthday party to attend in Surprise AZ.

The next thing I knew, Steve woke me up and asked me to get ready. Frankly, I was so nervous. WHY? Because like most family reunions, when someone says, "Hi," they are really looking to see if one has gained or lost weight. Have they gotten older looking or are they using Botox?  SO I put on my outfit and Steve said, "Boy you look great" and on we went. Then my brother, who is three years older than I, said to me, "Maxine, you look great for an old lady." He had no idea how grateful I was to hear that. In the lobby, besides my brother and sister-in-law, was my cousin Shelley. What fun it was to see her again. I hadn't seen her in close to 3 years. On we went over to the surprise party and of course it was great!!. It was fun to see that as adults, we had the wonderful memories of growing up in NY and remembering the fun times on Sunday, visiting Grandma Rose.

Here I dreaded seeing the "family" and it was a great experience. Frankly, we've all gotten older and none of us use Botox. Some of us have gotten a little heavier and some have added more than a little but really does it matter? The funny thing, and I say this with extreme sarcasm, is that when my cousin introduced my brother and myself to one of her neighbors, our names didn't matter. Her introduction said," These are two of my cousins who are brother and sister who lost over 100lbs each." I looked at my brother and we both remained quiet (a novelty in itself)  and thought OK, our claim to fame is loosing weight. See?  Nothing changes. However, hanging out with people who remember the memories are worth it all.

It seems each week there is another funeral to attend. This one was for a wonderful woman who lived for 91 1/2 years. She lived a good life. Others aren't as lucky. So having these moments of family whatever is left of them are more precious that one could imagine. Better to attend a 70th or 80th or 90th birthday party and take either the criticism or the glory than attend a funeral. Would you agree?

Life is good. We get to see my beautiful grandchildren next month when our little baby Anna gets her Jewish name during a special service at our children's home. I talk always of the circle of life. Isn't that what we live everyday? We go from sadness to joy in less than 24 hours. Life is what you make of it. Appreciate every day and those who are in it for the ride.

My Cousin Shelley, My brother Steve, and me

Love, Maxine

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