Family Moab

Family Moab
In Arches National Park

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

A Milestone Birthday for Rob

Our skinny black scaredy-cat, Jack, hid in the closet behind Rob's dress pants for the last four days as extended family members roamed our house. The high-pitched voices of our young nieces and nephews particularly triggered him to slink his belly down low to the carpet and crawl into his dark space, only coming out for water and the occasional bowl of kibble. For the rest of us, however, Rob's 50th birthday party / Dravenstott reunion was a festive celebration of friends and family.

As the youngsters (four little ones under the age of 7) dug out our old toys and built forts on the stair landings, the adults engaged in countless games: board games, all manner of card games, "remember when" games. Connie helped me stock up at the supermarket with barbecue fodder and lunchmeats while Rob ordered an entire shelf full of chips. Our coolers ran over, sitting on the back porch and sweating out their excess over sodas and sparkling water, not to mention a variety of beers for Rob and his brothers and some hard kombucha for me.

Rob doesn't typically like attention - or birthdays - but 50 is a milestone and valued connections with friends and family help to ease the sting of the high  number and replace any misgivings over age with appreciation for a loving and supportive community. I turned 50 in March of 2021 and my friends and family threw me a "walking party" along a nearby path, reluctant to gather critical mass either inside or out. The cards and photo album that I received filled me with gratitude and I was able to get vaccinated and fly to see my mother, sister and brother at the end of that month, for the first time in over a year. My happy memories motivated me to provide Rob with a similar feeling and sense of fulfillment. 

For this 2022 pandemic celebration we were able to gather and sit together under the shade tents, avoiding light rain and the rare outburst of sun, less concerned about COVID and excited to see neighbors who have been buried by work or family obligations. While the youngsters shrieked with joy on the nearby park, cornhole sets rotated through countless teams and the thud of bags on the wood were punctuated by cheers and groans. More barbecue disappeared from the catering table and Rob made a lovely speech over two cakes - a chocolate CostCo confection and a vanilla gluten free globe (home-made). As our niece angled for two pieces of cake, Rob thanked everyone for coming and for helping us raise our kids, enjoy happy times and survive the hard ones. Towards the end of the evening, as lightning flashed in the west and thunderstorms threatened, all remaining party-goers pitched in to help clean up. All in all, a magical evening to celebrate a milestone.

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