golden years

april 2020
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George McCarthy (76 years), Mandy (74 years)

narrated by: Mandy

I had always thought that when I was a grandma, that I would host holidays at my house as my grandparents had, but it just didn’t work out that way. George was in business, but never impressed the higher ups enough to make it past an Executive position, and we decided that staying at home with the kids was the best for our family. It meant that our first family house, was our only family house.

George thought that we should make the outdoors an inviting room, so that we could have more people over at least in the warmer months; I wasn’t on board at first, but came around to the idea. We enlisted our grandsons, Elias and Julius to help us tear up the dirt and build the gazebo. Sydney has been given a bit of free reign in the yard, that Elias had to fill some holes before we could lay down the new patio stone.

Julius did a fair amount of watching, and sneaking off to watch the television, but Elias really helped out without any complaints.

Once it was all finished, we invited Oliver and his girlfriend, Meg over so we could get to know her better, and see how our new backyard held up to entertaining. I was saddened that he broke it off with the nice girl Paloma, but in the end, I really just hope that he finds happiness, and I like to meet the girls, so I can gauge how happy I think they are together.

I felt pretty strongly, that they were happy together. She is a junior at Eastborough College, studying for her Literature Degree, and is hoping to be a screenwriter. I’m just glad that Oliver chose to be a Grammar School teacher, where the money may not be the most lucrative, but it is steady, and local. Perhaps screenwriters aren’t as hard to come by as I imagine they are, I am not one to spend much time watching movies.

He is enjoying living downtown with his roommate Isaiah, but the commute is a bit much, living on the opposite side of town as the school.

George and I seemed to get the same idea simultaneously.

With all of our renovations, and with our increasing age, we had decided to sell George’s old work car. We never go anywhere separate these days, George’s eyes aren’t the strongest for driving, and it’s just been sitting in our garage all this time. We offered the car to Oliver if he wanted it, and he certainly did. Meg and Oliver were both pretty shocked by the offer.

We arranged for Oliver to come back later in the week to pick it up, after we had it checked over by a mechanic. We didn’t want our grandson to take on a car with too many issues that became a money pit.

That night we talked about our opinion of Meg, George liked her. Went on about how she was kind to Sydney, and he thinks those make the best people, and good mothers.

I think he was sucking up with that last bit, but I didn’t feel any regrets in my role as a Mother, so maybe there was some truth to it.

Oliver came to get the car after we got it tuned up for him. I hedged around the issue of a possible wedding proposal, but he insisted that it hadn’t even crossed his mind. I suppose a piece of me is relieved to see him enjoying his youth, but I do love weddings and babies, and it’s been a while since we’ve had ether. I remember when Oliver was just a little tyke, and now he towers over me, and is such a gentleman, I know when he does get married one day that he will be a good husband.

George went over all the details of the cars auto work history, seemed to confuse the poor boy. There really is no reason that he needs to remember the cars first oil change, all he needs to remember is the last one so he can get it back in on time. He’s never owned a car, and I imagine this one will be kind to him, but not too kind. He will learn quick enough about the responsibility of car ownership.

It was bittersweet watching him drive off in George’s old car, he’s been retired for fifteen years now, and that just doesn’t seem possible.

When we cleared out the garage, we found our old tent and decided to invite Hazel’s kids over for a backyard sleepover. Emma and her friend Lorelei used to sleep over all the time back when they were still in high school.

We allowed them some screen time, which the boys were all over. They don’t have a gaming system at their house, so it’s a real novelty.

Bea prefers playing outside, and finally coaxed them into joining her out back, and playing tag. We have learned that it is best to allow this trio to run it out, because they have more energy than we ever had.

When they got the running out of their system, and Roman could barely keep his eyes open, George sat down with them to point out constellations.

We intended to tuck in all the kids outdoors, but Roman got scared when it was finally time to sleep, and came to sleep in Finn’s old room. And George ended up staying outside to keep the kids’ fears at bay.

The kids tried to keep Sydney outside, but I insisted that I couldn’t sleep in that big bed all by myself.

At the end of the month, we celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary, and had our entire family over. It was amazing to think that me and George started all of this, out of our love for one another, we were responsible for all of these lives.

Nicole offered to give me some help with my apple trees, that have been overrun with bugs for the past few seasons, and I realized that despite all of our differences, things hadn’t been tense in a while.

Finn has even started poking around here more often, and helping his Dad out, which we both appreciate. I think the issues between us have started to weaken as we have all gotten older, and I’d like to think more mature.

I just can’t believe that Grace is about to have another baby, she’s due in just one week, and looks nearly miserable.

She was very pregnant with Isla at the dinner event that George and Hazel had thrown in my honor a few years ago. I tease that she is always pregnant, and she insists that this is their last one. I may not remember everything, but I do know that she said exactly the same thing last time, so I’m not counting her out of having another baby down the road.

Emma had caused a large rift with us and Finn a few years ago, and despite everyone’s worries, she seems to have turned out just fine. I think we all hoped for more for her, but she seems happy and that’s what matters.

It warmed our hearts to see all the kids playing together, the great grandkids are the same age as Hazel’s kids, seeing that Finn is nine years older than Hazel. Violet-Adele and Grace are the exact same age, though it never seems that way in my mind.

We cut the cake, and though fifty years have gone, it doesn’t seem possible. I still remember our wedding day clearly despite all the years.

The biggest difference between then and now, is that instead of worrying and dreaming of my future; I now do that for my kids and all the grandbabies. I worry about Violet-Adele and her never finding someone to love and put her trust and faith in. I don’t know that she should have seven kids like Finn did, but I think it’d be a shame if she never had one child. She sees the resemblances between Oliver and George, and I think that she would feel more whole if she could see a resemblance of her on her own child, being adopted, she has never gotten to to experience that.

I see how proud the kids are of getting George’s brown eyes, and how they boast on that. And she’s never gotten to boast about looking like someone, and I’m afraid that while she absolutely fits in here, that perhaps a piece of her feels like she doesn’t fully fit.

I’m just grateful that Hazel and Jude are so good to her, and even when Vi doesn’t want to share her inner thoughts with me, that she usually does with Hazel.

All in all, it was a great anniversary, and it was decided that we will do another huge family portrait out at Finn’s farm when Oliver or Violet get married, whichever happens first. Everyone seemed certain that it would be Oliver that got married next, and I don’t disagree with that that assumption.


Notes: I didn’t do dates like I do now, so I can’t be certain on their anniversary, but I know it’s been at least fifty years, because they were married a good bit before they got pregnant with Finn. At the time she was working, I believe she was in the chef/cooking field, and had a cat named Basil. I was humored that each time we have one of these parties Grace is very pregnant.

I really like this giant family, and am pretty amazed to see how many there are of them these days! Considering Finn had seven kids, and only two of which have married and had kids!

I’m constantly redoing their home, and besides the backyard I redid the front. I already shared these at N99, but here they are just the same.

before:

after:

Including this picture, just because I liked it. George and Roman looking at the stars.

Next update, Grace has her baby. 🙂

Thanks for reading!


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10 thoughts on “golden years

    1. I used allmenus to do the wedding cake, it took a few tries, because you have to select both parties, but otherwise worked perfectly. You can’t have an anniversary party without the cake! Thanks for commenting Starr!

  1. LOL, Meg has Grandma’s approval – all is well! I was sad that Oliver and Paloma broke up too but I’m really coming around on the idea of him and Meg together.

    I love how you wrote in the building of the patio (and wow, Elias and Julius look like they’re getting tall!) And the patio was such a nice backdrop for the anniversary party. I’m glad Finn and Nicole came. It’s about time they started taking some steps back to being a part of the family again.

    I hadn’t thought about Violet-Adele as a mother from that perspective – that it might give her that “family” feel that she doesn’t necessarily have as an adopted child. I wonder if that thought has crossed her mind. It would certainly make sense.

    1. It was super hard for me to have them break up, but Oliver just wasn’t in that relationship anymore. I’m okay with him and Meg, I really like Meg, and I think that his family has been very welcoming to her, considering they were all friends with Paloma.

      Elias and Julius both have the tall genes, and I really like how they look a bit like gangly teenagers. Thanks on the compliments of the patio, it really turned out nicely. I didn’t really know what to do, and it all just sort of came together from there.

      I really want Violet-Adele to have a baby, and that point of view is from one of my friends that was adopted. It wasn’t something she ever considered, but said was very overpowering emotion when she had her first child, it had been very unexpected. So I don’t peg Violet-Adele as having thought of it, not having kids, nor being particularly in want of one. Her IFS is one, and I really hope she fulfills that.

      Thanks for commenting Carla!

  2. Aw, I like Oliver and Meg together and I’m glad she’s been approved by the family judges. 🙂 It’s got to be hard for her when everyone still remembers him with Paloma.

    I always love your houses and this is no exception – such a pretty little place that seems perfect for the family.

    1. It would be hard for Meg, Paloma and Oliver were friends since childhood, so they have literally known Paloma for years and watched her grow up. Everyone has been welcoming, except Emma, for whatever reason, Emma dislikes Meg.

      Thanks for the compliments, I am very happy with the makeover, beforehand, I didn’t really care for the house, but I think it fits George and Mandy perfectly now.

      Thanks for commenting River!

  3. I really love this huge family! I know they can be a pain to manage in the actual game (especially when, further down the line, everyone is related to everyone else), but they’re just so much fun. 😀 I still can’t believe Finn had seven kids. Goodness.

    Grace being pregnant at every gathering like this amuses me. It’s the timing!

    I hope Oliver and Meg work out. Oliver and Paloma finally finding their matches and moving on will be nice to see, as it finally puts an end to that ‘chapter’ in their lives.

    I LOVE the house changes. I am so jealous of you guys and your ability to do stuff like this. I am so terrible at houses!

    1. I love this huge family too! They are all pretty close together, but good grief, Finn with his seven kids makes me feel a bit queasy when I think of all of them pairing off and having kids… Overwhelming!

      Grace’s pregnancy humored me too, especially since I wrote at the last party that she was done with two kids! She really surprised me going to for number three. Oh man, I am looking forward to Paloma moving on as well, I would like there to be some closure for her, and she can see that it all worked out for the best. I think that Oliver feels bad that Paloma has been sort of depressed and forlorn over it all too.

      Thanks for the compliments on the house, but I definitely think your stuff looks great! So I don’t think you give yourself enough credit.

      Thanks for commenting Mao!

  4. I remember reading this at the beginning and never would I have thought Grace would have 3 kids…its laughable! I’ve never commented on your blog but I have been an avid reader for a long while now, often zipping back and reading a random early post. This is lovely what you do here.

    Paloma and Oliver always felt (to me) like it would be forever, I liked them soooo much, but everybody grows up. The McCarthy family is a rambunctious one. All those little boys.

    1. Thanks for commenting twofleur! 🙂 I thought Paloma and Oliver were going to be my high school sweethearts that got married, and lived happily ever after too! I hesitated letting them get together, because I thought they were so young, and so many things could happen and ruin their relationship, but they were very keen to take the relationship path, and I let them. I think it’ll work out nicely, with whoever they end up with, but I too, had thought they had what it takes.

      Grace with three kids! I didn’t see that ether, I meant it when I wrote they were done with two, back when she was pregnant with Isla. She surprised me going for the third one, but I am happy with her family now, and I hope she has no more! There are a ton of rambunctious boys in the McCarthy family, the whole lot of them, teens and younger are all rather rowdy, and all active/playful, and constantly into mischief.

      Thanks for commenting! I added your blog to my feed, and will check yours out when I get back from vacation, I’m always happy to have another blog to read, seems so many have gone inactive over the years.

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