Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthdays, Red Lobster, and Cupcakes

Tonight we celebrated my brother Michael's (belated) birthday with a dinner at Red Lobster in Queensbury.  My family loves Red Lobster for birthday celebrations because we can fit six siblings around a table easily (missing 7th sib,  brother Danny, who relocated back to California with his wife Suzette last March). At RL, we can enjoy a good meal (very good, actually), and sit and hang out with each other long after our check is paid. That's just what we did tonight.  It's a comfortable place for a group like us.

I've written about these birthday dinners before.  They are special.  Here we are, now realizing that we are actually getting older, and there's no denying it -- the oldest O'Farrell brother is 63, and the youngest sister, 53.  When did that happen?  It seems like just yesterday we were seven kids living together in the same house with our parents, a large, cohesive family.  So much has happened over the past 40 years or so -- college, military service, marriages, babies, dogs, moving away, moving back, babies becoming kids, kids becoming teenagers, new relationships, more dogs, kids getting married, more babies...  It's such a flash of events that pop like firecrackers in my brain, moments of life creating a collage of memories to pour over again and again, and savor.

Through all of these transitions, the one constant has been our relationship as siblings, with all that comes with big families.  Sometimes it's easy; sometimes it's not, but it's always been something we can count on.  My brothers and sisters and I have been through a lot together -- moving a lot as kids, growing up and staying connected, losing our father, and later our mother.  We were mid-life adults with no parents, with still half our lives to lead, six siblings to support each other through happy and sad times.

When you think about it, no one has known you longer or better than your sisters and brothers, the people who know everything about you, and, like the saying goes, "love you just the same."

I appreciate the fact that I have six siblings.  They are a great bunch.  Hope you had a happy, happy birthday, Michael.  I look forward to sharing many more together, and...I hope you like the cupcakes!

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