I’m So Embarrassed

As I told you in my last post, June was a big month for us. Bob retired and we did some traveling. Looking back on that post, I realized there was more to tell than our effort to have steamed crabs for dinner. In hindsight it seemed wrong that I didn’t mention how proud I was of Bob as I attended his retirement luncheon. (I was extremely proud.) The words “workhorse” and “finisher” were among the many accolades he received.

It also seemed wrong that I didn’t focus on our family being together for the first time in years. We witnessed our youngest grandson seeing the grandeur of the ocean for the first time and take those first tentative steps into the water. Our eight grandchildren totally enjoyed their cousin time, and our kids and kids-in-law were reunited over approximately 300 games. Yes, we are gamers, and yes, I tend to exaggerate. We only brought 30 games (and all but about 2 were played).

I also didn’t tell you about our trip to Stanardsville, Virginia, Williamsburg or Monticello, but there’s time for that later. By now you understand the power steamed crabs has over me. It’s a little embarrassing that they were the first thing I wrote about. In all fairness, though, they were really good, and we hadn’t polished off a table full of crabs in a coon’s age! Even now, a month after we got out the mallets and crab crackers, I can still close my eyes and smell Old Bay Seasoning. (I may need to talk to my doctor about that.)

Oops, there I go again. Back to the family – there were 18 of us gathered in Hilton Head. Our 8 grandchildren range from 2.5 to 18 years old. The power of family was on full display as these kids embraced each other. There is something special about cousins. Even with this wide range of ages, the interactions were sweet (and noisy). Watching the older cousins care for and play with the younger was a gift to me. How I wish we all lived close to each other! But how thankful I am that we can be together despite distance.

They are all pretty cute and amazing, so I’ve included a few pictures of them. Trust me, I could have really bogged down this post with pictures, but I want you to keep reading.

The Beach from crazy to serene

Being a mom to Bob’s and my four kids has been the joy of my life. When grandchildren were added, my cup literally ran over with happiness. One thing I have really missed since we all haven’t lived in the same locale, is having an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. My mom started doing those backyard hunts when my kids were young, and I have taken up the mantle, though sporadically now. When there are only two local grandkids and they’re both teenagers, a bit of the thrill of the hunt is missing. My two youngest grandkids had never participated in the hunt! I saw my opportunity for our June gathering. As Christians, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ every day, so why not do an egg hunt in June.

Who remembers The Unknown Comic from The Gong Show? I present, the Unknown Egg Hunters.

I have kept the plastic eggs over the years and had over a hundred of them. Even with the help of our kids and their spouses, it took a little while to hide them all. But at last, we lined up the grands and the hunt began. We released them by age to even the playing field. That Anderson competitive blood flows through their veins and they were off. Eggs and children were everywhere. At the end of the hunt, prizes were chosen.

We also did a jigsaw puzzle competition. Ella (our second grandchild) is a huge fan of Marvel, as am I. When I came across 48-piece puzzles in a tin with Marvel superheroes gracing the front, I made it my business to find 6 of them. It took four different stops to realize my goal, but I did it.

Our eldest grandson, Manning, and his mom came in first place

I am relatively sure I was much more excited about these puzzles and the whole competition to complete them than anyone else. Did they not realize that each puzzle came with an infinity stone? The older six grandchildren each chose an adult to team with them and the games began. When Layna (the youngest competitor) chose Bob, I felt like they were a shoo-in. Honestly, when it comes to puzzles, he is a ringer. But I hadn’t counted on them getting The Incredible Hulk, which is mostly a mass of green. At least they didn’t get angry when they came in last.

Jett enjoys finishing before Bob (Bumpa)

Games and puzzles and walks on the beach with our tribe are tucked away in my memory. I smile when I think of this group of people whom I love more than I can describe. I’m thankful that God made families and thankful that he gave us each one of ours.

Hilton Head sunset

Family Game Time and The Streak

Game-player genes are strong in my family, especially on my mom’s side. My childhood memories are full of badminton and croquet in the backyard and epic Monopoly games complete with outlandish trades. As I grew older, Scrabble was added into the mix. My mom was always part of those games – well, maybe not Monopoly. What homemaker has time for a board game that becomes a three-day event?

There are no other people in the world that I would rather play games with than my family. We are a competitive bunch, and this month as we gathered together to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday, she led the way to the game table. She loves to play Scrabble and she plays to win. It is from her that I get my love of words. As a matter of fact, during one game my mom received a phone call and continued playing as she talked. Without batting an eye, she managed to accumulate two triple words while we just stared in disbelief. She is amazing.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This trip, most of those Scrabble games were played with Mom, my sister and brother-in-law, and myself. We played a lot, and everyone was victorious at least once, except for me. It was getting embarrassing. Not because I couldn’t win, but because I couldn’t stop winning. I was on fire. I hate to toot my own horn, but since none of them have a blog, I am left with no other choice. Not only that, I don’t think my brother-in-law is talking to me.

Seriously, I was one with the tiles. The letters seemed to rearrange themselves on the tray and lift themselves effortlessly onto the scrabble board. Two games in a row I used all seven of my tiles. In the next game, my mom did something I had never seen before when she got a double/double word. It was amazing and we knew she would win the game, until once again I used all seven of my tiles and chalked up another victory.

I knew I was in trouble, but I was on some kind of bizarre scrabble streak and, even though I felt a little bad about it, I was loving it. I also knew it wouldn’t last. Streaks are made to end. The real challenge was to get them to keep playing and not lock me out of the house. The last several days of our time together were spent at the beach, where I continued my reign of terror. After my last victory there, everyone got away from the table for a little while. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I’d leave them a note to let them know that my heart was heavy and that I felt bad, but I didn’t want to sound condescending. Plus, we were almost out of paper, so I improvised.

I’d like to say they graciously accepted my apology, but they just reinforced what I already knew – Scrabble is not for lightweights.