Monday, March 29, 2010

Family

It's a joy to have the family gathering with us here in Laguna Beach. It started yesterday, when Ellie and I drove up tandem, in both cars, to meet our gang arriving from England at Los Angeles International: Matthew, my older son, and Diane, and their three children, Alice, now 11 years old, and the twins, Georgia and Joseph, now 8. (Pictures later; we haven't had the head to take them yet.) You can see why we needed both cars. Tomorrow, Tuesday, my former wife, Elizabeth arrives at Irvine railway station from Iowa, and my younger son, Jason, flies in to Santa Ana airport, also from Iowa. Thursday, our daughter, Sarah, comes down via Amtrak; and finally her friend, Ed, arrives on Saturday. You can see, it's a busy week. The Buddha Diaries may suffer some neglect...

Much of Saturday and much our morning, yesterday, went into preparations for the basic necessities--marketing and food prep. It was Ellie's idea that we should do a seder tomorrow evening, to pass on that tradition from her side of the family to the grandchildren, so we had two dinners to think about. In such circumstances, I'm usually appointed sous-chef, and put in a good deal of time on the considerable amount of chopping and slicing required by Ellie's recipes. She's the chief cook and organizer. By the time we left for the airport, we had the two first dinners pretty much in hand. The only thing left undone was a prior inspection of the hotel room we had booked for Matthew and family, but that would not have been possible anyway; we called ahead and discovered that the room would not be available before we left for the airport.

We would not, in any case, have been able to do much to remedy the snafu in our hotel booking. We had reserved, months ago, a very nice suite at the Laguna Riviera, with space enough t sleep all five of them in comfort, and a great terrace overlooking the ocean with lounge chairs and barbeque. On our arrival, we discovered that they were booked in, instead, to a much smaller room, below the one we had reserved, with a narrow balcony instead of the terrace where the children could have played. The confusion resulted in a good deal of calling back and forth from the front office, but nothing was to be done. Diane and Matthew did seem happy enough with their temporary quarters for the week, and the kids were just delighted to be a stone's throw from the beach. We left them to pack, and returned home to set the dinner table...

What a pleasure, finally, after then obligatory tour of the cottage and the changes since our remodel last year--they marveled at the new kitchen, and at Ellie's work in her new studio down below--to sit down around the table in our little cottage with the gang. The children's energy, even after the long flight from London, is boundless, uncontainable, and literally fills our normally quiet little living space. They are all three growing into such different people, and it will be a delight to have this opportunity to get to know them better in the two weeks they will spend with us. No doubt they will exhaust us, but I'm looking forward to a rich and wonderfully rewarding exhaustion! Today, I must remember to take the camera with me.







5 comments:

robin andrea said...

That sounds like quite a nice gathering. There's nothing like a large family around the table for seder. Happy Passover to you and yours, peter.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, Robin!

mandt said...

How wonderful to be surrounded by family and around Seder. Peace to you all and thank you for sharing the joyful reunion that many of us no longer may realize with our own families. MandT

TaraDharma said...

Ellie's got a great idea there, to pass down the tradition to the grands. Though not Jewish myself, I have fond memories of my first seder many years ago.

Happy Passover to you and the entire gang!

Nancy Youdelman said...

How wonderful to have your whole family together! My favorite times anymore are when I am with my children and grandchildren--all the generations together. Now I have a very new grandson born in February.

I look forward to your photos.
Nancy