Back in 2007, Grandma came to live with us. My mom wanted to see her regularly, and Grandma would head to my mom's, about 50 minutes away, on Saturdays. I'm not sure how it came about, but my mom also started coming out to my house on Wednesdays. Grandma, my two kids still at home, my mom and I would meet my aunt, cousin, and, sometimes, her daughter, for lunch. Not long after this started, my sister and brother-in-law, who live about 10 minutes north of me, started joining us also. We called it "Grandma's field trip." We would often eat at Culver's, which is near WalMart, so, of course, we'd all head over to Wally World when lunch was over. Grandma would get one of those little electric carts, and we'd head off to shop.
As time went on, and my mom's health got more frail, she would also grab one of those carts. It got so that the greeters knew us, and knew that my daughter or sister and I would come into the store, grab two carts, and run them out to the car to help my mom and grandmother get into the store. Afterward, we'd tie up traffic in front of the store as we helped them into their cars with their purchases before we returned the carts and we all drove away.
It got to the point, also, that the Culver's people knew us well. Two of my kids worked at this particular restaurant; one before we started all of this, and one after. I remember one day the manager said, "OK, I knew you were Ethan's mom, but now he tells me you're Matt's, too?" (Why it would be so odd for two brothers to work at the same fast food restaurant in a small-town area is beyond me...)
Today is Wednesday. Grandma and Mom are gone. Only one of my kids is still around to go to lunch with us. Today my dad came out, and my sister was there, and my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her daughter. Oh, and one of my kids showed up again: Jay, Kris, and her son, Sean, came by for lunch. We ate at Joe's, our local pizza place (where Matthew had his second job in fast food.) It was a fun time, sharing jokes and news and sarcastic comments with family. We've been doing this now for close to 4 years. I hope it continues for a long time to come.