Itís birthday season in the Loftis family.
My youngest son, Ryan, turned 22 on Thursday, Aug. 29. My daughter-in-law, Christi, is celebrating a birthday today, on Labor Day. My older son, Ronnie, will be 27 on Sunday, Sept. 8. And five days after that, the old man will be 50.
Between schedules ó I never know what kind of shift Ryan is working, or Ronnie either, for that matter ó and distance (roughly 165 miles from Berryville to Ronnie and Christiís house in North Little Rock), sometimes celebrating together is difficult.
I havenít even seen Ryan in more than a week, although I could throw a rock from my place to his. Weíll get together for dinner at some point soon, I hope.
The good news is, I did get to spend some time with Ronnie and Christi and my grandsons Hayden and Liam over the weekend. I hadnít seen Liam in particular in two months. Ronnie, Christi, Hayden and I met up in St. Louis in late July to watch our Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals (DO NOT ask me how the game went), but Liam didnít make that trip. I had been dealing with a nagging summer cold that lingered for nearly a month right after that trip and I didnít want to spread it to the little guys.
I hadnít even had a chance to give the boys the souvenirs I picked up for them on my trip to New Orleans and Mexico earlier this summer. But I took care of all that on Saturday, handing out T-shirts for the whole family and a freeze-dried alligator head from the French Market in New Orleans for the boys.
On Sunday, I rode along as Ronnie and the boys did some birthday shopping for Christi and later that night we celebrated with Mexican food at one of Christiís favorite restaurants. Of course, Hayden mentioned to the waiter that it was (almost) Christiís birthday so we didnít leave without her wearing a black sombrero while being serenaded by the wait staff. She was a good sport about it, with a little help from what apparently was a strong margarita.
Since Monday was a holiday, I stayed over Sunday night and left early Monday morning to drive to work. Itís always tough leaving my family, but itís nice to get back home, too.
Hopefully, Iíll see them again soon. Maybe even before birthday season is over.