By Ann Burnside Love

Ann-LoveMy family is big in the birthday celebration department, and this month is especially busy with six in two generations. This means I’m not deficient in cake consumption, because my chosen retirement community is within convenient reach of the families involved. Plus, there was a truly delightful surprise addition when my first great-grandchild was recently born, thus becoming a member of this distinguished (fun) group of winter birthday celebrants.

Many of the residents in my retirement community also attend family events and local events as I do. We have friends and colleagues nearby we also see regularly.

So I asked a few what they value about living close to family. These are some of their answers:

• “I am really fortunate. My daughter comes for dinner once a week. Since my eyesight isn’t as good anymore, she runs errands for me and arrives with plastic bags on her arms.”

• “I celebrate the main holidays at my son’s house, which is right here in the city and takes me practically no time to drive there. My grandchildren are teenagers now, and you know what that means!”

• “(My children are) both just on the other side of the mountains. They really enjoy the special buffets we have here at Thanksgiving and Christmas and in the summer.”

• “Having my grandchildren close means everything to me! They bring my great-grandchildren to visit. Nothing like having very young children around. And what a treat for other residents. They all smile in our direction in the dining room.”

• “My health is better now that I’m here, and my kids can just visit with me instead of wondering what condition they’ll find me in, as they did when I lived in town.”

For myself, I rarely ever miss a grandchild’s school musical performance, or plays, or baseball, tag football, soccer, or basketball games. I have folding chairs, blankets and bottled water in the trunk of my car. Nor do I miss major events in my children’s and their spouses’ careers.

Tomorrow I will be attending my Army officer son’s retirement ceremony at the Pentagon. My son has arranged for family members from this area to gather here at the main entrance to my community, where we will be picked up by a limo and delivered right to our assigned visitors’ entrance.

Could I have been part of this if I’d retired to the South? No way!

Carry on!

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