This past weekend, my wife and I traveled to Orange County (by way of Riverside County!) to celebrate her grandfather's 90th birthday with the extended family. Family gatherings are always an odd mixture of excitement and apprehension. On the one hand, you get to see people that you care deeply about, and likely haven't seen in quite some time. On the other hand, these are the people who know exactly how to get under your skin, and any theological or political differences that may exist between you can be much more difficult to navigate than they might be with other people. That our weekend went so well is a testimony to the fact that such differences can be overcome.
For myself, this was also an opportunity to meet my youngest niece and nephew — twins — for the first time, and to spend some time with my five other nieces and nephews who, despite my being married for nearly five years now, I've only gotten to meet three or four times so far (I have no such relatives on my own side of the family). Of course, with so many kids running around, it's hard to get everyone to stand still for a picture. In the literally hundreds of pictures I have access to (not only my own, but from my brother-in-law and mother-in-law as well), this is the best one I've got. Only the oldest nephew (entering his senior year in high school) is missing. This picture was taken during our trip to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano.
But, like I said, the main event was the birthday celebration. We met at Marie Callendar's and surprised Michelle's grandfather there. Both of his sons (his only children), all of his grandchildren, and all of his great-grandchildren were there. This man's not the type to seek out a gathering like this, but I think he enjoyed the attention nonetheless.
It was a long weekend, and unfortunately we had to return home to get back to our jobs on Monday morning, while my nieces and nephews (and their parents and grandparents) got to go to Disneyland! Sometimes life just isn't fair....
And somehow, although most of them were still around in Southern California for yesterday's earthquake, they apparently didn't even feel it! (I guess they were far enough away from the epicenter.) In any event, I'm glad that the news reports indicate that there wasn't any major damage or injuries.