This morning I woke up in a hotel room in WV to find three to four inches of snow on my car, with more coming down. Just to be clear, it is indeed the 23rd of April. It has officially been spring from more than a month. I’ve worn shorts; I’ve needed sun screen; but none of that matters when you’re dealing with mountains and Mother Nature.
I find today’s snow to be rather appropriate because it falls in honor of one Evelyn Tuckwiller’s birthday. She is my Grandmother-in-law, and today she turns 92. It’s been quite interesting getting to know her over the years as Josh’s girlfriend, then fiancé, and now wife. She is a woman of many contradictions and snow on her birthday is surely fitting for someone who would like you to believe that she’s as icy as she sometimes pretend to be. Truth is that under that façade is a warm spring just waiting to flower.
We surprised her on Friday night, arriving at Josh’s Aunt Sandy’s house, along with Josh’s mom and dad. She would never utter words like, “What a nice surprise!” Instead she wondered aloud why we’d bothered. She voiced similar sentiments the next day when her daughter Suzann, Suzann’s daughter, her husband, and their new baby all came in the door unannounced. They had flown in from California all night on the red-eye with a one-year-old. This nominates them for kid/grandkid/great grandkid of the year, if you ask me.
But however much MaMaw might try to put forth the idea that we needn’t have bothered and that she was only attending her birthday party to humor us, you could tell that she was very happy to have her family together. In fact she had on her Sunday best to attend her birthday party and sat patiently for group photos with all the family members who came to wish her well. The informal count put the guests at 82, 80 of which were directly related by blood or marriage. I would hesitate to say that I’m even related to 80 people on every branch of my family tree together, let alone 80 people who would come to my birthday party.
Growing up in an Italian family I am quite used to outsized family events, but I admit that I still struggle with the Tuckwiller family tree. I’m always grateful for my mother-in-law to explain for the umpteenth time who everyone is and how they’re related.
But by far the best part of the weekend was seeing MaMaw interact with her youngest great grandkids (she has close to 30 of them and 3 great great grandkids!). For each of them she has a special affection and loves to hold and cuddle them. Sorry, lady, but no one who sees you with those sweet little ones will believe for a second that you’re as brusque as you pretend to be.