Ruth Jones turned 80 on Friday. She celebrated with her family at Olive Garden.
That, in itself, isn’t unusual in a country where many women live to 80 and beyond. What made the birthday party a rare event was who attended.
Jones sat next to her daughter, who sat across from her daughter, who sat next to her daughter, who held her infant daughter.
It’s not often when a woman can celebrate her birthday with her daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and great-great-grandaughter.
The five-generation family roster is:
- Matriarch: Ruth Jones, 80, known as Queen G of Bonney Lake.
- Daughter: Julie Olson, 58, known as GG of Parkland.
- Granddaughter: Kim Peterson, 38, known as Nana of Graham.
- Great-granddaughter: Camery Wentz, 20, mom, of Tacoma.
- Great-great granddaughter: Kali Nava, born July 7.
Just until recently, Jones was known as “GG” but that title now belongs to Olson. A new honorific, “Queen G,” was created for Jones.
This was news to Jones.
“I gave it up, huh?” Jones said.
“Yes, you did, mom,” Olson replied. “I’m the GG. I’m sorry, it’s what happens.”
“Apparently, I don’t have a choice,” Jones said.
Kali’s birth on July 7 gave Jones her first great-great grandchild.
“It just kind of hit me,” Jones said. “And then it hit me with 80 years old. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I never thought I’d live this long.”
Jones has some health issues.
She has four children, 16 grandchildren, 11 great-grand children and one great-great grandchildren.
“Every one is special,” Jones said. “They are all different.”
She does resort to buying the clan gift cards for Christmas.
Kali was a happy baby Friday as she was passed every few minutes from one woman to another to be fussed over.
“I will never have to take her to day care or a babysitter,” said her mother, Wentz. The men in their family also help with child care, the women were quick to add.
The older women are a great resource for baby advice.
“They don’t come with a book,” Wentz said.
There are some factors that helped create the unusual occurrence. All the women are the first children or females in their generations and they all had their first child at age 18-20.
A cursory review of the internet shows an occasional family photo of six generations. That seems to be the record.
Peterson, the 38-year-old grandmother, is still getting used to being called Nana.
“I never thought I’d be a grandma. But I don’t mind it. Call me what you want,” Peterson said.
Five generations wasn’t a big deal to Peterson, who is in the middle of the multi-generations.
“I don’t give it much thought until I mention it to people,” Peterson said.
Wentz hopes her daughter will inherit the family sense of humor.
“We’re goofy people,” Wentz said. “We’re not serious people. I hope she’s good at interacting with other kids and not a little bully.”
She also hopes her daughter will appreciate the wealth of knowledge and wisdom so many generations has brought her.
“Having all these women from all these generations bringing in all their characteristics and the things they know. ... It’s something not a lot of people get to experience,” Wentz said.
Peterson said Kali also will get to experience something else the family has in abundance.
“The love,” Peterson said. “It’s endless.”