A little birdie
once told me that showing up is
what counts most in life.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one she told.
When the news was announced
that Oma would turn ninety,
birds from far afield flocked to Aruba.
To show up
Oma’s bevy showed up by the dozens,
from Curacao, Holland, New York, Trinidad, and Aruba.
others came by boat,
and by ATV.
Two ambitious little birdies drove sand cars,
still others climbed great heights to see the nonagenarian.
Several waltzed their way over,
and a few simply came on foot.
Whatever the transportation means,
all of us reveled in the joy of seeing Oma make her grand entrance into her ninth decade.
On this auspicious occasion, all of Aruba sat up to take notice.
After all, ninety doesn’t happen every day.
Ninety is something to celebrate.
At every possible opportunity,
in every way you can.
Ninety is something to document,
to never forget.
none of these traveling revellers would even exist, at least not in this particular constellation.
These birds definitely would not be here without their mother.
And by proxy, these feathered friends wouldn’t have flown in to roost.
Of course, then none of these nestlings would be singing their sweet songs,
without their grandmother bird.
This thought makes us feel,
As everyone knows, building and maintaining family connections can be a delicate and careful process.
sometimes things can get prickly.
Communication can get difficult- what you’re trying to say might not be understood;
even if it is as obvious as Michael Jackson’s moon-walk to you.
Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough space on the proverbial rock for everyone to fit.
and the urge to go away for a spell arises,
to wander out and carve out your own space.
More often than not, families can tug at each others nerves, each side digging their heels in the sand.
If you keep pulling, you may just end up laughing at the absurdity of it all.
Whatever happens, ultimately, with enough time and patience, family always
picks you up,
and holds you as though you were as imperative as the setting sun
Because you are.
As contrite as it sounds, we often take each other for granted.
We forget that, in whatever configuration a kindred flock takes, to find ourselves flying in a family formation is a rare and fragile blessing.
and cuts across boundaries
So no matter the ebb and flow of the tide, we keep building and shaping our connections
knowing that we evolve and grow,
along with the sands of time.
Throughout it all, our family ties
keep us grounded.
Thank you for your ever welcoming and open door.
Looking back on our time,
this birdie is happy everyone showed up.
Lieve Ellen, Thanks for this fabulous and monumental document of the 90th birthday of Nilda Pereira-Davelaar. In Dutch we should say : “geweldig hoe je dit in elkaar gevogeld hebt” (Great that you birded this together). How can we print this?
Love Enith & Carel
Dear Ellen and family, thanks for this family epos. I forwarded it to my part of the family, in doing this another 10 sister, (achter-) neefjes en nichtjes are connected. Hope to continue this series with you in and around Amsterdam. We’ll see….
Wow Ellen, thank you so much for this contribution! What a beautiful way to capture our wonderful time with Oma and each other!