For about the last seventeen years or so, my family and I have been invited to a New Year’s Day brunch at the home of a wonderful couple. They tend to invite a core of their same friends year after year – people who I wouldn’t normally have known otherwise. We don’t live in the same area and don’t really travel in the same social circles, so our hosts are the connection that brings the friends from different segments of their lives together. I pretty much only see their friends annually at this brunch.
It has been both pleasant and interesting to reconnect with these people again, to share the changes that have occurred in our lives, to hear the updates and touch base for a moment, to reconnect. Intelligent conversation and sharing ensues – politics, religion, family stories, laughs and gossip too.
Seeing some of their children once a year makes the most marked impression, following the progression from toddlers to teens, teens to graduates and married professionals in 365 day jumps, as if thumbing quickly through an animated flip book. Our children growing, our parents passing; for some, relationships changing.
More subtle but still obvious, we ourselves are showing the signs of age. The men have grown grayer and more bald. The women….we complain and compare about our falling eyelids, how our necks are starting to crepe out, our skin losing its elasticity, our need for reading glasses, the insult of it all! For me, I grow progressively deafer. Deafer than last year.
For the second year in a row, one couple has brought along their Capuchin monkey. This little monkey is named Amelia. I believe they shared that she is forty-two years old now and has been part of their family for over thirty of those years. Amelia is somewhat frail – her face is small and wizened, her hair is thinning, and her hands are so delicate, with tiny nails and miniscule fingerprints etched into the tips of her long fingers. When she grabs your hand, you can feel her trembling.
Because I could not hear all of the conversation going on, Amelia captured my attention for much of the day. I could not help but watch her with fascination as she ate cherries and tomatoes without her teeth, drawn to staring up at the light source as she could not see as well anymore at her advanced age. It was like looking at my grandmother when she was one hundred years old, which brought back some memories. I wondered what Amelia had been like when she was younger. Much like my grandmother, probably very sassy. I reflected upon how we were all aging, just like Amelia. I thought about the wonderful care she received, how she was not left behind, how everyone should have their families caring for them like this when they are old.
It was reassuring to see everyone, including Amelia, return once again. I hope to meet again at the same time, next year.