April 23, 2012

Quite Contrary


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.

So on this, her 92nd birthday, I’d like to wish her a very happy birthday and many more so that we all have an excuse to surprise her, put her out, and make her attend her own birthday parties.

24 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday MaMaw! How wonderful everyone made it for such a special event!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love my big family, but I do feel bad for those that marry in...we're an awfully overwhelming bunch.
    That's so wonderful everyone was able to come together for a birthday celebration.
    You paint a lovely picture!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great way to capture the memory. Happy Birthday to her. I hope I'm able to live to my 92nd birthday and be surrounded by family and loved ones. I can't imagine anything more fulfilling than looking out on a crowded room full of family I helped to create and nurture.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy Happy MaMaw!!!

    ~The G is Silent

    ReplyDelete
  5. May we all be so blessed at 92! She sounds like quite a woman!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hehe Happy Birthday Mamaw! An impressive age!

    ReplyDelete
  7. How sweet! What an incredible family. How could someone not feel incredibly blessed and lucky. Lucky to have you to do something so special and lucky to be someone so very special to a family! -LV

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderful weekend from the unexpected snow to the bouncing great grandkids. Ellen

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds like a great gathering. I come from a small family, so I'm always fascinated by big family get-togethers. This one sounds like a good one!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a wonderful story... I'm sure MaMaw was in total heaven with all her family surrounding her on such a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like an incredible woman, and you write so well about her I feel like I know her! I just love peeking beyond the tough exterior. It seems those with the toughest outsides often have the biggest hearts. Happy birthday to her.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a great post; I hope I'm someone's MaMaw someday!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love hearing about relationships like this. Nice post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 92 is quite an accomplishment! My granddad is 91 this year and he's nowhere near as gruff as he pretends to be either.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nice tribute. I thought my family had outsized gatherings but you win! Lovely image of the MaMaw with the grand kids. Very sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 92 is amazing. My wife's grandad is going to be 95 in 2 weeks.

    It's amazing.
    WG
    http://itsmynd.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great tribute! My grandmother pretends to by icy sometimes, too, but she's not got us fooled!

    ReplyDelete
  18. So sweet! My grandma is 92 (though for years she lied about her age so we thought she was younger), and she adored being fawned over for her 90th...all the picture-taking was like a paparazzi moment :) It's so nice that you're feeling so close to her!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great post - very nice tribute!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Aww, Happy Birthday to her! She sounds like my grandmother-in-law!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hooray for birthday celebrations! Great joyful post.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Absolutely lovely story. I grew up very close to West Virginia and it's beautiful, just like this tribute to MaMaw Tuckwiller.

    ReplyDelete

Please be kind.

Printer Friendly