Memorial Day was pretty awesome this year. All three original Mesa Brothers were reunited for the first time since Christmas. It was my third major holiday celebration since Scarlett was born (in 2012 we only celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas), but it was the first one I hosted. Even with Danielle’s family only 3 hours away we rarely have an opportunity to have a BBQ out in the yard. I find this lack of BBQs irksome as my childhood involved lots of house parties since our entire extended family lived within 30 minutes of each other. What is the point of having a yard and home in suburbia otherwise? So I took the rare chance to take out the speakers I bought back in High School for my short DJ career and set my netbook to play from Google Music. I created a playlist of songs with “summer” in the title since Memorial Day is the cultural start of the summer in the USA.
At Scarlett’s age (and probably until she’s about 3 or 4), these holidays essentially entail one of us looking after her and keeping her safe and entertained. Until we started the BBQ, we played bocce ball with Dave and Scarlett seemed to enjoy participating in her own little way. (Either running around with the balls we hadn’t thrown or helping us pick up the balls after a round) Once I started manning the BBQ, it was up to Danielle to take care of Scarlett, but luckily Scarlett had acclimated to Dave so Danielle could finish up the appetizers. When Dan and Katie arrived we threw a baseball around and ate. Danielle and I rotated between who was playing ball and who was watching Scarlett.
Although I had intuited this before on a cerebral level, having Scarlett has really made me understand the way group dynamics tend to work out at family functions. For example, why all the parents (segregated into moms and dads or together) seemed to be in one spot with all the singles elsewhere. You have to change your mindset into making sure you kid (or kids) stays well hydrated and fed. Scarlett is definitely one who prefers play to eating, but within varying degrees that applies to all children. If you can’t pawn the child over to other relatives for a while, it’s hard to eat in peace or play whatever games everyone else is playing. The other parents understand this – they save you a piece of this or that to make sure you don’t miss it because your kid’s eating at a snail’s pace. And, depending on how well you get along with everyone, it’s a great time to swap kid stories – embarrassing, funny, or exhausting.
I think, more than anything else, what I enjoyed was a chance to be with my brothers – to have an excuse to pretend we were having the parties of old (although with far less salsa and merengue) – and to see Scarlett interact with her uncles. It just made me wish our families were all closer together so we could do it all summer long (or at least twice a month until it gets cold).
If you want to d/l full-sized images, go flickr, starting here.