It’s that time of the year again.  Each year I make a calendar for my family…which contains all of the birthdays for my large and extended family.

I have four siblings who in turn have 15 children, seventeen if you count Zach and Sam, plus some of their kids also have kids…so add a further nineteen and soon find yourself with a very full calendar indeed!

I started creating an annual family calendar to provide a glimpse into the lives of Zach and Sam for my family in Australia.

My first calendar was way back 2001 when Zach was not quite two years old and Sam was yet to be born.

Recently I perused the old copies just so I could reminisce and see the kids growing up before my eyes.

Such beautiful and treasured memories!  Some of them even brought a tear to my eye…

I realize I’m probably a little too sentimental at times, but that’s just one of the many perks of having a physical calendar that you can delve through whenever you get the fancy.

The photos that accompany each month of the calendar are all, as you’d expect of Zach and Sam taken over the course of the prior year.

It was a perfect way to keep my family in Australia up to date, especially when I lived in Canada.

Now, less so as this December marks my second anniversary of being back in Australia after my 32-year hiatus of living overseas.

The photos that fill the calendar, once easy to acquire have taken on a different tone over the past two years as I now have to rely on Zach and Sam sending my photos from their now independent lives.

As you know Sam is still completing her degree at the University of Waterloo, which is about two hours west of Toronto, while Zach has just completed his first year of his Master’s program at the Australian National University in Canberra.

With us now spread all over the world it’s a bit tricky to get photos, especially the right quality to use but somehow, we seem to do just fine.

With Judy officially joining our family earlier this year we decided to also create a calendar for her mum and dad with all of her side of the family’s birthday.

This past week she’s been busy collecting birthdays from her family from all over the world.  Judy has family in Korea, the United States, Caribbean, Spain, and the UK so it’s been tricky to gather them all.

The best part is that her mum and dad have been sifting through old photos in order to collect some gems to include… it’s been a true family affair.

Nothing like a little family archaeology and anthropology to make the week interesting!

Not only does it provide a constant source of memories but highlights the fact that as family’s grow it becomes almost impossible to remember every cousin, nephew or great niece.

The unfortunate part is that it only takes a simple move like a son or daughter moving to another country and that family branch becomes lost forever…

I realize it’s likely easier now with all of the social media apps that we have available, but it still takes effort and a commitment to keep in touch.

Personally, this I’ve found over the past 21 years has continued to be an important touchstone in my family’s lives.

Now, each November I’m often asked when the new calendar is going to be ready for posting.

I know for a fact that my sister Glenda has the calendar in her kitchen so that she can see whose birthdays is coming up next so she can reach out and wish them a happy birthday.

Each of us enjoy it when someone remembers our birthday and sends their love and best wishes, irrespective of how they know it’s a simple but important ritual that reminds us of our connection and that someone cares and is thinking about them.

Plus, with so many birthdays to remember, it would be impossible to remember all of these dates.

This year Judy and I have decided on a road trip to visit my family in Victoria.

As you know I love a good road trip, and as such Judy will get to explore a large part of outback New South Wales on the way down to deliver this year’s calendars to my family.

We plan to hand deliver a large portion of them, but still have Sam and my ex and her family in Canada to send the calendars to.

This year’s version is already at the printers while we complete Judy’s family calendar and so hoping to get them back by the weekend so I can package them off and get them into the mail before the beginning of December.

Yes, I still hold out hope that they will receive them prior to the holidays…

Wishful thinking, I know, especially as we’re talking about Australia Post and Canada Post who arguably have the slowest mail service in the world right now.

All I hear from either party is that covid has made it impossible to deliver mail in a reasonable time… when will this excuse ever end?

Oi vey!

Until next week!