Friday, June 25, 2010

Family coming together

my mother, my martini...
When my mother and I arrived in Chicago, we settled in fairly quickly- 

me, at my son's apartment (he made me feel very very welcome, and not at all like I was turning his world upside down!), while she had an hospitality apartment in the Complex, the same size as the one she was moving into, (a few floors down) which helped her decide where she wanted her furniture placed and most importantly where she wanted her wall of bookcases built by T and youngest son. 
even if the talk turned serious.
T arrived three days later, having supervised the packers and loaders and driver.

It would seem that we got out of Santa Fe just in time as the day after we left there was a broken water main shutting down all the water, and when it came back on creating a big mess.  Poor T.

We celebrated his arrival and all of us went out to dinner.  I indulged in a "dirty martini" a new favorite! (it was coveted by many...)

happy as long as he's not in a high chair!
 Having two of my sons, my husband, my mother and myself along with grandson Gabriel and his beautiful mother together, was the beginning of the BEST of having my mother move to Chicago!

it's in the genes?
Sunday it only got better, when my oldest son (who lives in Michigan) joined us- with my 15 year old grandson... he who featured so prominently in my blog for most of last summer when he visited us in Corfu!

He and Gabriel had a great time together and I couldn't help but notice they shared the same concentration skills! 

"you deserve a break today" - NOT
Memorial Day weekend passed on a rather joyful note and on the first of June my mother's goods arrived and the unloading and unpacking began.

Disappointingly the moving company wasn't unpacking the stuff for my mom, nor were they taking away the packaging, meaning there was a veritable mountain of boxes and paper we had to break down and cart 6 floors downstairs to dispose of.
so many boxes, so little time

Our objective was to get every box unpacked and everything placed (on the new bookcases and shelves specially built) and in all the closets in four days, so we could take a break and leave my mother on her own (with 2 grandsons as back up).

There were a few potential problems in the idea, but after all the intensity of the move within the short space of time we knew we'd all need some breathing room!

We drove to Michigan to visit T's brothers and sisters in the Detroit area, and had a marvelous visit with excellent food, company and much laughter.

T is the "baby" of his family, with five brothers and sisters.

We even had a few of the nieces stop by. (tho not all as there are 25 offspring of the brothers and sisters, including our own three!  I can't even tell you how many children- or children's children- all the nieces and nephews have but it's a pretty big family!!)

guys bein' guys
Then we drove to central western Michigan to visit our oldest son in Grand Rapids,  where the three guys - father, son, and grandson- got to sit around and watch basketball and act guy-like...

 Last but not least,

on the drive back to Chicago, we stopped by, to visit T's cousins in Kalamazoo. (we only got to see one of them, but the quick visit was worth the stop).

We returned spiritually refreshed, if a bit road tired, to Chicago.

...and done.
As we had only a week left before our return, we dug in and finished the last of the move and hung my mother's paintings. We did the many small corrections and all the little re-arranging things that make a house home (hang hooks for bathrobes, move lamps, sort the odd things that go into the kitchen drawers etc)

The bookcases built by T and youngest son turned out fantastic and won kudus from everyone, including many of mom's new neighbors! (As they built them in an apartment, they made them specially with no nails in the walls!  They are perfectly fitted and held in place by one shim.  The finishing trim is glued in place.  I was VERY impressed.)

My mother was very happy.

my sweetheart granddaughter and her S.O.
But things got better as, for our last weekend in Chicago, my granddaughter and her lovely and charming friend came up from South Carolina (where they both go to University) to celebrate my mother's 85 birthday!

We planned and executed a great party in the private dining room of Lincolnwood's excellent facilities available for the residents.  As it was close enough to baby grandson's 3rd birthday, we celebrated a little "un-birthday" for him as well!

All in all a brilliant family party and a lovely way to wrap up our visit.

Happy 85th!


  1. What a wonderful trip this has been Jes. Catching up with so many members of your family. You must be exhausted though, particularly after moving your mother, but I'm sure she was very grateful. And of course you will now have peace of mind that she is settled.

    Lovely, happy photos! xxx

  2. Dear Ayak,

    For sure I am feeling much better that she's closer to family.

    I know she misses her friends (and the wonderful weather in Santa Fe- it seems it's been doing nothing but raining in Chicago since we left!!) but she's been calling them and the boys have been visiting her and helping her with the little "problems" as they crop up.

    The 'peace of mind' thing is HUGE.

  3. Fabulous photos I love to see a happy family .. they are few and far between these days ! xx

  4. Such a lovely family you have! Your mother looks very sweet!

    I know all the work and stress involved in moving, but you made it seem almost like fun! Brought back sweet memories of different moves in my younger life, both with parents and my husband, but never cross country.

    Happy 3rd Birthday to the grandson, he's sooo cute in his white shirt and tie!


  5. Dear Gaelikaa,

    Succinct and true!.

    Dear Wildernesschic,

    I am very very blessed, and I try to always keep that in the front part of my thoughts when there are family bumps in the road.

    Dear Wanda,

    She is sweet, and funny.

    The move was fun in a way. Now that it's behind us, (and after we take care of the last few niggling threads of problems) I know we'll have some great stories to tell of the amusing and wonderfully silly things that happened along the way.

    He is a charmer that little one. He loved the tie (it's a clip-on) and had the best time after the party was done, taking it off! (like work was over, time to relax!)

  6. Impressed that you managed to fit in so many family members in one trip. Sounds like you had a truly great time with everyone.

  7. He looks like a charmer...sitting there with his hand on the tie!

  8. What a beautiful family. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  9. Dear ChinkyGirLMeL,


    I discovered your blog via MelRoXx, and I enjoyed the pics of your family as well!

  10. Oh...Happy Birthday to your Mom, she's adorable! This is a wonderful post. And, those bookcases look does that martini!
    Great photos and a wonderful, happy post! xo :)



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