Sometimes All You Need Is Family, Tons of Couches, and Food

my beautiful mom, Mindy (gotta love those Baby Boomer names)

my beautiful mom, Mindy (gotta love those Baby Boomer names)

Aunt Rose-cake time!

Aunt Rose (a vision in white) - cake time!

Babka, the sheepdog.  what a load.

Babka, the sheepdog. what a load.

siblings on the train

siblings on the train
platters of fanny & jane sweets for mother's day lunch

platters of fanny & jane sweets for mother's day lunch

serious kiddie tricycle riding

serious kiddie tricycle riding

Last night, I returned from 2 days in New Jersey with my East Coast fam and my mom, who came in from L.A. for a few days! Driving through the greenery of Warren, New Jersey and getting to turn my brain off completely, was exactly the rejuvenation I needed from the non-stop work and stress of the past few weeks. The main attraction of the weekend was my great Aunt Rosie B’s 90th birthday soiree. My cousins, Karen and Irwin, generously hosted at their house, and it was quite the affair! There was delicious catered finger foods (by the end of the night, the pigs in a blanket guy just kept b-lining it to me, my boyfriend and my brother. Embarrassing, but we were his best customers). There was a live pianist who kept it classy by playing songs from Rose’s era, like one of my favorites, “Stars Fell on Alabama” (yet by the end of the night, my cousins and I were shouting requests, and we all collapsed on the couch and raucously joined in singing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”). And for hours, the house was alive with laughter and stories, and a lot of “Oh my god! I haven’t seen you since dot dot dot”.

One thing you have to know about my great Aunt Rose is what a firecracker she is. I tell you, at 90 years old this woman is so full of life and energy, she is such an inspiration to me. One of the strongest and most loving women I know. She’s full of class and practical wisdom, and has always taught me the importance of bringing family together. Some classic Aunt Rose-isms include…

Always put your face on before you go out. You never know who you’re going to meet. (And don’t forget to bat those lashes).

or

There’s no such thing as too many onions.

and the most oft repeated,

Don’t work too hard, but make a lot of money.

There are many tenets that I hope to adopt from her as I grow older, but the number one defining Aunt Rose tradition that I would love to take on in my old age is her ritual of the “L’chaim Club”. The L’Chaim Club is a daily routine that she shares with her oldest and best friends and fellow widowers, Ruth and Belle. Every night at 5pm, they each pour themselves a drink (Aunt Rose’s choice: vodka on the rocks), and the three women call each other, and make L’Chaim (cheers “to life!”) over the phone. Every night! I just love it.

Over the course of the past 2 years, both of my grandmothers passed away, leaving me with no remaining living grandparents. Having this weekend, devoted to family time, eating till we could eat no more, sharing stories and poking fun at each other like only relatives can, felt very special and precious. As I get older and start to realize that my brother and I are no longer the babies of the family, I know that when it comes time to raise a family of my own, I want to make sure I remember one of Aunt Rose’s greatest priorities: to bring the family together.

Aunt Rose, happy birthday! I love you very much.

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