In this part of the country, November tells us that winter is on its way.
It is a transition month, as some days can be mild and sunny. But then it hits us with reminders of the cold and snow that will be a major part of our lives.
This month has had ups and downs in our family. For some, the coming of winter and snow are depressing, but for others, it means cross-country skiing and various winter sports. We used to hope for some early snow to get out on the trails, but aging bones have ended skiing sports for us, and slippery walks and roads are a problem for us now.
Along with the more challenging weather come the happy family gatherings at Thanksgiving. I don’t recommend it as an ideal month to have a new baby, but we had our daughter in mid-month, and she has been a joy and a blessing in our lives. Well, there were the first few months, when her feeding, and sometimes crying, kept us awake a lot in the wee hours.
At that time we lived in southern Minnesota and made the journey to northern Illinois to spend the holidays with our parents and families there. It was a bit of a challenge with an active 3-year-old boy and a rather demanding new baby, but worth it. We have always been glad that our children were able to know their loving grandparents. That relationship can be very special for all three generations.
We are pleased that our grandson expresses his strong belief in the importance of his growing children knowing us — their great-grandparents. At our age, those family contacts and watching this new generation grow and develop are the major joys of our lives.
Summer visits to our house on Grant Lake were very popular with family members of all ages who came with swimsuits and. water toys, including swim floats and rings, prepared to spend time jumping off the dock and paddling all over the bay.
The young ones soon learned to handle a fishing rod, and some even got brave enough to put a worm or a minnow on the hook for bait. There are pictures to prove that fat panfish and skinny northerns ended up on the end of the lines for those proud kids to hold up and be photographed.
We are in an assisted living apartment now, but our dear daughter and beloved son-in-law are preparing to take over the Grant Lake house as he retires. We were there for a meal with them on their recent visit. I sat in my yard chair under the birches and looked out over the lake while my husband checked on some perennials in his gardens.
We are becoming comfortable in our new living situation, and I am getting over my feeling that “I want to go home.” But it is a joy to know that home will still be there and much loved by our daughter, who lived there from upper grade school through her college years, so she will feel that she is truly at home.