Gifted With Presence

Published 1:39 pm Friday, October 14, 2011

It began with plans to take momma out to dinner for her birthday. Yes, this momma recently had a birthday and if you are wondering about the age thing-think dirt. Yep, as a former colleague stated when asked her age, “I'm as old as dirt.” Hey, but dirt is a good thing-throw in a bit of compost or fertilizer every now and then, add a bit of water, and it'll keep on giving.

With everyone's schedules conflicting in every which way, it seemed impossible to get the family together. However, second born son was insistent that at the least, we could all meet in Richmond on Sunday afternoon.

Hmm, a birthday dinner with the family definitely sounded great-especially if I didn't have to cook it. And, that man-of-mine loved the idea of being paired with the guest of honor and not having to pick-up the tab.

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“Hey, he just got promoted, he can afford it,” chimed the hubby as I was on the phone trying to graciously decide where we could meet.

Images of the four grandkids seated at a restaurant table and not being able to play and pal around with their cousins seemed torturous-for everyone.

Drawing a deep breath, I did that thing that mothers-in-law should never-ever do. I suggested that maybe, just maybe, we could meet at first-born son's house if second born son wanted to spring for a take out order at an agreed-upon BBQ eatery. After all, his house is about midway from our house and second born son's. And, first-born son's backyard includes a great picnic area along the Appomattox River.

I agreed to make the call to see if the idea would float. It did. Wow-do I have great daughters-in-law or what? One was willing to open her home with only an hour's notice and the other was already planning the menu and secretly asking her father-in-law where to get the cake.

And so we all got together at the house with the freshly cut lawn. Yep, first-born son even mowed the grass while his wife grilled a venison tenderloin to add to all the food second born son and his wife hauled to the scene.

After a great meal, we strolled down to the river, built a fire in the fire pit, and enjoyed the glorious fall afternoon. The four kids explored the area, played, and actually raked leaves-so they could dive into the resultant pile.

I watched as our two sons practiced shooting with a longbow. The scene was more than reminiscent of two young boys readying for hunting season with sheer anticipation and excitement. Unfortunately, these days they have few opportunities to be together. As they stood there talking, my heart swelled.

Later in the evening, we gathered around the birthday cake, which included the name of the oldest grandson, whose birthday is this week. As he and I joined in with Happy Birthday to Us, we swayed together while we sang and each blew out a star-studded candle placed by our name.

I'm not sure what his wish was but mine had already come true. I was on the receiving end of a truly precious present-their presence. Reckon there could be any better gift than being with those you truly love and knowing they also love you? KNOTT MUCH.