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For me the weekend started on Thursday with the birth of my grandson. I came into work on Friday morning to finish up some things I had to drop when Jen went into labour, but I left at noon to stop in at the hospital then go home to prepare for the company we had been expecting.

We had planned to have my brother-in-law, Jerome, and his two boys, Sol and Nathan, down for the Labour Day weekend to make chili sauce, go to the Harrow Fair and get in some beach time.

Friday afternoon was spent chopping peppers, tomatoes, onions and celery then simmering cauldrons of sauce on the stove. We threw a few burgers on the grill and ate them in front of the TV watching DVDs of the Carol Burnett Show. An after dinner swim at the lake and a round of ice cream sandwiches nicely finished off the day.

Saturday was Harrow Fair day. I had already done the Comber Fair and the Corn Fest the two previous weekends so I wasn’t planning on spending the entire day. My mission was to visit the poultry barn and find someone who raises the breed of chickens I’d like to have. Beyond that all I wanted was a corn dog and some chip wagon fries (you can’t really go to a fair without having some type of fair food – it just isn’t right).

On my way to the poultry barn I got distracted by a pen full of alpacas. What beautiful creatures! Lise and I are considering them for when we buy our farm. After talking to the alpaca lady I ambled over to the poultry barn and talked to the poultry folk. I found a man who will sell me some pullets so my mission was accomplished. A corn dog and fries in the pavilion then a detour to the local United Church’s pie tent to pick up a couple of pies for supper (peach and blueberry) and I was on my way home.

I left Lise and the gang at the fair so I could get home to get things ready for the kids coming out for supper later that afternoon. Of course when I left the fair grounds was right around the time they were starting the parade so I had to navigate around all the closed streets and find a way around the town then back in again to stop at the hardware store for more canning jars.

Lise and the boys arrived just as the jars were ready to be filled. The boys were restless so Lise took them down the lane to the beach and soon Matt, Sue, Natalie and Eve arrived. Natalie is really into Hannah Montana. I had picked up a Hannah Montana magazine for her and couldn’t wait to surprise her with it. She was thrilled and immediately put it away in their car so she wouldn’t forget it. Sol and Nathan started showing Natalie their origami projects and Sue and I took a little ride into Amherstburg to look at a swing set I saw on sale.

I really enjoyed having that time alone with Sue. Now that I’m not taking classes with Matt and Sue is back to work I don’t see them as often as I’d like and I really miss them. Sue’s a smart, level-headed girl and a good match for Matt. I like her so much and I’m glad she’s my daughter-in-law. We’ve both been single moms so we have a lot in common. We jawed all the way into A’burg but when we got there the swing set I saw was gone so we stopped at the dollar store for marshmallows and water pistols.

We got back to the house just behind Jen, Phil, Khai and baby Tyson. Jen had been released from the hospital that morning. Little Tyson got passed around like a football while I tried to make the exhausted new parents comfy. Natalie, Eve and Khai changed into their swim suits, we passed out the water pistols, gathered the beach toys and off everyone treked, down the lane back to the beach. I stayed behind with Jen, Phil and baby and got them settled then made some lemonade and visited.

When the crew returned from the beach we all pitched in to set tables and chairs out under the big ash tree in the front of the house (yes, the one that’s scheduled for removal). The corn was cooked, wine uncorked and the lamb nicely roasted so we sat down and toasted our growing family. As I sat at the table watching everyone laugh, talk and eat I couldn’t help but feel like matriarch Barbara Stanwyck (aka Victoria Barkley) of The Big Valley.

Another after-dinner beach romp, bug spray, marshmallows and a fire and it was time to call it a day. It was then I wished I had a very big house so they all could have stayed the night. I know my kids are grown and have lives of their own but I still like to have them close. I enjoy them now, more than ever and I’m so proud of them.

I went to bed that night contented – no, I was happy and I was thankful. All those years of struggle and worry had led me to this very happy ending. I’m going to hang on to this feeling and store it away so I can revisit it on those days when I forget how wonderful life can really be.