The pleasures and favors of a visit

When the children are grown and on their own, or married and living with their spouse or family, it is a huge treat when they visit. Every visit is like fireworks, and when the hoopla is gone, you want some more. It’s like Christmas in the fall or summer or spring. It’s like a celebratory feast each day of the visit, and you want to max your fill. Because this isn’t a perfect world, if or when any disagreement pops up in the interaction, the undercurrent is always love. The visit is still a gift. Many fellow baby boomers or parents would agree, I’m sure.

My daughter visited this week. Not to sound selfish or seem like I just wanted her home for pragmatic reasons, I am grateful that she was most helpful in driving me to far places that I normally would not drive to, for very important errands. Quite a “handy woman”, she even fixed the broken latch of the shower door. Since I shy away from freeway driving, she also took me, as on other visits, to my son and his family’s place to engage in family times with them, and attend church with them on the Cal Berkeley campus.

When all the errands were accomplished, my son treated my daughter and me to an afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. My first visit at that highly rated and popular museum that contains a rain forest, aquarium and planetarium. My surprise was that the Philippines figured prominently – on exhibit were rare forest trees, plants, butterflies, fish from that tropical country. It was breathtaking to watch fish of various sizes and colors swim over and around the spectacular Philippine coral reefs in the grand aquarium. The umbrella-structured jellyfish fascinated me. In the magical rain forest, Philippine yellow winged butterflies fluttered beside striped and big blue butterflies the size of my palm, often, whizzing by just above our heads or before our faces. A sign posted on the wall says, do not try to catch the butterflies; shake them off your hair or clothing, in case any alights on you. They’re so fetching that the urge to touch them is so tempting. Funny, I didn’t care to look at the slithering mammals. My son took the pictures shown here.

During my daughter’s visit, not to be missed was the dinner-out with family. My son generally chooses restaurants that we haven’t been to – so the whole experience becomes a discovery of gourmet delights, or a family adventure into culinary novelties that often segues into a lively and free-wheeling discussion of the food fare. Very intellectual and very gastronomical – with the gut dictating the thrust of the spontaneous group critique. Last night was our first try of Finfine Ethiopian Restaurant at Berkeley; its spicy meat, fish and vegetable varieties artfully arranged on a big, round platter set in the middle of the table for all of us to dig in with our fingers. It was fun, it was ethnically exotic, it was super delicious.

Highlight of our visit at Berkeley was the Cal-Washington football game last Saturday at the memorial stadium. Extremely exciting and astounding was the Golden Bears’ victory over the Washington Huskies, the predicted run-away winner that, for strange reasons that day, failed to overcome the Bears’ aggressive moves and tactically smart strategies. I cheered loudly and energetically like any young person in the crowd. This Lola got exhausted from too much happy hype – but that was perfect to work up an appetite for the Ethiopian dinner.

Oh yes, before the game was a band concert that featured Michael Jackson music. The open field outside the stadium was a most pleasant venue. Spectators sat on the grass in front of the stage. Some couldn’t resist the urge of the beat and jumped up to dance with the lively music. I started the electric slide with another senior female who was gleefully prancing solo, without a partner. Then some others did the same, sometimes bumping persons on the same line or behind for the quick turn and side steps. I kept bumping a nice lady who, according to my family, was the Mom of a very popular Cal football player. Perhaps, that was the lucky bump – Bears won!

I truly had fun, not having danced in over three years. This Lola felt tired, though energized and exhilarated. I was especially proud of my 9-year-old grandson who got whopping applause after he performed his clever moves and shakes on stage when he was recruited by one of the band singers to dance on stage. My grandson was thrilled to receive as appreciation gift a guitar pic with the band’s name on it. Awesome! He’s a piano student. Now, I won’t be surprised if he’d be inspired to learn the guitar, too.

Those were particularly pleasurable times I had with my family that started with my daughter’s visit. I write this in hopes of encouraging sons, daughters and grandchildren to visit your parents or Lolos and Lolas – you can’t imagine the great cheer you bring from the bonding and joyous activities that roll out from that visit. The benefits are vast – for me, magnanimous.

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