What are we doing for Family Day?

It all started with a simple question from Godfrey, my middle-born Ugandan grandson: “What are we doing for Family Day?”

Which got his parents thinking and planning, which prompted a FaceTime call Friday afternoon: We’re at the park. Releasing balloons to Grandpa.  


Photo: Pixabay


Godfrey was actually referring to National Adoption Day, which was November 17 last year — the day he and his two brothers were officially adopted into SIL Josh and Daughter Summer’s family as siblings #4, #5, and #6.

And so to celebrate “Family Day,” the plan was to go out to dinner—which doesn’t happen frequently when you multiply the dinner tab times eight people in the family—and eat chocolate cupcakes in Grandpa’s honor (their grandfather was a chocoholic).

But first, a visit to the park and a FaceTime phone call so I could view the releasing of helium balloons as each grandchild said whatever they wanted to say to their grandpa had he been present.

There were words spoken of missing him, of missing his teasing, of wishing they could have met him; there was the teasing reminder from the oldest grandson that his team, the Seattle Seahawks, beat grandpa’s team, the Denver Broncos, the last time they met in the Super Bowl.

When it was William’s turn, the youngest of the six kids, he released his balloon and said: “I can’t wait to play with him up there,” because seven-year-old William is all about playing.

William couldn’t have known this, but his grandfather was famous for collaborating with our own children, and then later with our grandchildren, in spreading the entire collection of Legos on the living room carpet, and getting down on the floor to help build walloping creations out of the colorful, snap-together blocks.

Ironically, my three Ugandan-born grandsons love creating things with Legos. I mean, love creating with Legos.

Although one could argue the genetics point, I’m thinking it must be something in the genes passed down that included biological and adopted grands. Is that solid science?

November 17—the day these three Ugandan-born brothers took on Josh and Summer’s last name—was also the day, three years ago, my husband, Gary, left this earth for his heavenly home.

I love the irony here: The family lost an irreplaceable husband/ dad/ grandpa/ brother/ uncle … and gained three boisterous, gleeful, precious grandsons/ sons/ siblings/ cousins/ nephews.

And I love that Josh and Summer combined the celebration of “Family Day” with remembering a life well lived — their dad’s.

On this day in November, feeling blessed, grateful, wealthy beyond description.


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  1. Gary Wirth

    What a very thoughtful thing to do and thoughts to say have a great thanksgiving.

  2. MJ Benson

    This is beautiful, Marlys. Praying you will have a special Thanksgiving… I’m sure your holidays have all been bittersweet these past few years. Psalm 26:3 I will never walk alone… for Your love is ever before me and I walk continually in Your Truth; Joshua 1:9 Be STRONG (you are!), Be BRAVE (you are!), Be FEARLESS (you are!). You are never alone.

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