The best gift
March 21, 2016
by Jenni Sebora

I have written about this during the month of March for the last several years, and here it is again – March madness.

There are no snowstorms in sight, well at least not for this area. I believe forecasts are saying that northern Minnesota will get hit with about one-half-foot of snow.

Basketball playoffs have just occurred, but for my family, March madness means birthdays, birthdays, and more birthdays.

This year, my twin and I hit “the big one.” That’s how old my mom and dad are supposed to be, not me.

However, my mom was 50 when she birthed my twin and me, and my dad was 50-plus.

Can you imagine being a grandma or grandpa a few times already, and then having twins at 50? I will have to say, though, we were pretty good kids.

My twin brother and I got the good end of the deal. Not that my four siblings received unfair parenting, but by the time my parents had us, they were grandparents and pretty mellow.

By the time we reached junior high age, our parents had retired from farming and were available to come to every event we were in – we were in everything, and they came to everything.

You know how grandparents are. They will buy their grandkids the donut that mom or dad won’t buy. That’s what my dad did. I wouldn’t say we were spoiled. We didn’t go on big vacations, because that was not in the cards for farmers, but we got our treats.

My mom loved the holidays, and loved baking. At Christmas, we were spoiled with lots of toys. Easter brought beautiful baskets with many edible treats.

They were not the Snickers bar candy eggs and Skittles jelly beans that we have now. You had to be creative back then, and my mother was.

She took candy bars, decorated them with frosting, and then stuck a Popsicle stick in them. They were delicious and beautiful – all from the heart. She did this for my twin and me, as well as her grandkids, because by then she had 10 of them, as well.

My father was the true supporter of us. He and my mother drove to all of our events and competitions. In fact, during my dad’s retirement, he drove bus for our school district, so he often took teams we were on to the games and contests. My mom was his sidekick, always coming along. When my dad didn’t drive the bus, they would drive themselves.

My dad really didn’t care how we did. If we didn’t compete as well as we wanted to on a certain day, he would say, “Now, you did the best you could, or near it, on this day. There is always another day.” How true. He always put things in perspective.

So, here we are, my twin and I, at the prime age of 50 – one-half a century – now called the youth of old age. Yep, that makes me feel better.

Actually, I am fine with it. I still feel very young at heart – always good.

On our birthday, I did think of my mom and dad, who are now residing in heaven. What would they think of their twins turning 50?

My youngest turned 12 this month. Our middle child turned 16, another milestone birthday. My son turned 19; his last year of being a teen, but officially an adult.

My son was just on his college spring break, so as a family birthday celebration for just our immediate family, we spent a beautiful Saturday, all five of us, walking the trail, then going to a wonderful coffee house/bistro for a late afternoon lunch and wonderful conversation.

Our kids are now all capable of having educated conversations about politics and world events, so we spent two hours just enjoying each other’s company, eating hummus and vegetables, and firestone pizza, and talking Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. We have mixed reviews about each of the candidates in our household, but respect each other’s opinions.

It was such a great day, even our kids confessed to it. It’s not often these days that a family can find the time for all to sit down to a meal for one-half hour, much less two hours.

It was the best birthday gift yet, and it ended with a specialty coffee drink for me, and a trip to an ice cream shop across the road.

Absolutely the best gift one can give and receive, and this you so appreciate as you get older, is time and conversation spent with special people in your lives.

We are on to one final birthday celebration, with my twin, his family, and my family to celebrate together – a dinner evening out altogether. This will be yet another “best gift” ever event.

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