We don’t really do birthdays much in my family.
When the kids are small we have parties, sure. Friends come over. Ruckuses are raised. The place gets filled with happy noise and shredded wrapping paper, and everyone goes home happy and amped up on sugar. But those tend to peter out after a while – my last such party was in elementary school, for example. For the adults, we are happy to gather around and have a nice meal together, blow out a few candles, maybe exchange presents or not (but definitely cards), and generally that’s about it.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my own birthday entirely until someone mentioned it to me.
But sometimes there are milestone birthdays, usually the ones ending in zeros. Humans like big round numbers for some reason – multiples of ten, or multiples of 25, and even better when those overlap. We had a big party when my dad turned 70, for example.
And we had one when my grandfather turned 80.
We all came from our various places back to the ancestral homeland of Philadelphia for the party, a gathering of the clan, such as it was. We’re not really a very big clan.
The main event was lunch at my grandparents’ favorite restaurant – a sturdy sort of place named Charlotte’s, out on West Chester Pike somewhere. It featured decent food at reasonable prices and clearly catered to the retiree crowd. A surprising number of our family events happened there when my grandparents were still around.
And then we went back to their house to hang out.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to take a group photo, but I’m glad someone thought of it. We lined up in what seemed like a reasonable arrangement – grandparents and children on the sofa, spouses and grandchildren behind – and the there you have it.
There’s nothing really more to tell about this photo. It is what it is, a happy moment when we were all together and celebrating.
And that is enough.