Dad's turning 85 this year.
So to celebrate, we book the Spirit of New Jersey cruise around Manhattan and got what's left of the family together. We lost two very important members last year; my youngest sister and my brother-in-law. My sister to cancer and my BIL to a brain aneurysm, Both are tough to deal with, and both became angels way before their time.
But Dad's still here and that's a good thing.
We began with a limo ride for 15 of us. This may sound weird, but a stretch Hummer is not very comfortable. Who knew the legroom was marginal and most of the inside would be taken up by a bar?
But we got there and met the rest of the family and friends. After we boarded my greatest hope was that none of my family fall or get pushed overboard. Both were a distinct possibility. (I found out later that there was also a pool by the cousins to see how long it would take for my youngest son to piss me off. Well no one did that day so dad got the money).
The food was good, the cruise was wonderful marked by some very important moments.
When we sailed passed the Statue of Liberty, God Bless America began to play and most of the people around us started to cry, me included. It was very moving going by the Lady and hearing that song. For me it was partly because I come from a very patriotic family; we tend to bleed red, white and blue, and partly because after 9-1-1, every Sunday in church for a year, we ended the service by singing God Bless America.
Then the hosts announced dad's birthday, gave him a crown and a dozen roses. He looked a little like Miss America in drag, but the people on the ship gave him a standing ovation. Okay, so I cried again. I'm a wuss. I admit it.
But the best thing about the day was watching the family interact. Cousins pushing cousin, aunt and uncles yelling at them, everyone kissing everyone, story telling, one upsmanship and a lot of "remember whens." It got me thinking - It doesn't get any better than that!!