Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Today marked the 19th anniversary of my dad's passing away, which is always a bittersweet start to the Thanksgiving holiday. To celebrate and remember his life, my grandma took my brother, me, Andrew, and Avery out for dinner at Gene's Place, a local diner about a block away from where my dad grew up with his 8 brothers and sisters. Commemorating a special day at Gene's Place has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember, and we've never had a bad meal there.
As expected, Avery does not sit quietly with her hands folded at any restaurant, and Gene's Place is no exception, despite its sacred place in our family's heart. She spent the evening climbing out of her highchair, charming us into giving her the best bites from all of our plates, ducked under the table to hide, and kicked her boots off, just for fun. This used to embarrass me, but it doesn't anymore.
After all, Avery was all smiles the whole time--she didn't shed a single tear, throw a tantrum, or whine for anything. Yes, she did playfully tease us and goof around, but she's two. If she was thirty-seven and acting this way, we might have a problem. She's simply a two-year-old, acting like a two-year-old. And I know for certain that my father, Avery's proud grandpa, would love every single minute of it.
In fact, Avery's charming and teasing behavior was inherited straight from him. It's true that Avery looks a lot like my mother, but her personality is remarkably similar to her grandpa's. While I've never had the honor of introducing my father to Avery, I get the feeling they're old pals.
We live just a few houses down from the railroad tracks in our area, which I thought would be a challenge for a young couple raising their small child. It's turned out to be quite the contrary. Every time a train goes by, Avery gleefully shouts "Choo choo train!" and runs to the window to watch it pass, waving "bye bye choo" to the last car to chug by.
This may seem to be just a happy coincidence, but my father loved transportation of any kind. To say that he loved planes and trains would be a drastic understatement. He knew everything there was to know about trains, collected train sets, and built a model train track in our basement that stayed intact (and running!) until we moved out of our childhood home, almost 12 years after he passed away.
So while Gene's Place will always be a well-remembered tradition in our family, I'm glad to say that Avery has some new ones of her very own. Whenever a train loudly whistles its way right through our backyard, we simply smile and tell Avery that it's just a little visit from her proud grandpa, who loves her so much that he can't help but stop by.
What do you tell your little ones about your relatives who have passed on? Do you notice things in your children that remind you of your loved ones who've gone before?