My mother turned 90 a few weeks ago and, the following Saturday, my five siblings and I held a party for her in our back yard.
The afternoon was perfect.
On the day before, my nephew, Dakota, and I set up rented tables and chairs. We set up food tables and placed service trays and decanters in their places. Basically we tried to get as much done that day as possible. Siblings came and went, adding their contributions and expertise to the set-up.
The following morning was most joyful to me as I got to place the pastel table cloths, center pieces and table decorations with my granddaughter. Then we laughed and laughed as we threw rolls of crepe paper into the tress and made long, pastel streamers.
With everything that still had to be done, the morning flew by. Ice chests were filled with soda, water and ice. My brother brought a kegerator and into it was loaded a full keg of beer. Fruit was sliced and added to a large wine service and it was topped off with my mother’s favorite sangria.
And then people began arriving right on time at noon. We’d put up signs to direct them around the house to the back yard. As they made the turn, we had my mother sitting in a large gold throne. Like the little queen she is, people came to her, some of them men jokingly genuflecting as they kissed her hand.
As with most events, people who said they’d attend did not arrive while others who had not RSVP’d surprised us. All in all, we estimated that 100 people joined us. My mother said more than once, “I didn’t know I knew so many people!”
There were friends from the neighborhood we’d lived in over 50 years ago. Friends of mine whom I hadn’t seen since high school made long trips to honor my mother. And her godson, my cousin Joe, flew all the way from Rome, Italy, just to be with her.
I watched friends of my siblings line up to greet Mom, and most of them called her, “Mom.” The family of my cousin’s wife, who we refer to as our cousins, joined us and expressed their love of Mom.
We had ten tables and 100 chairs and some people stuck with their groups of friends, while others mingled and allowed us to introduce them to friends from other arenas of our lives. And the smiles on the faces were quite beautiful. Many times I heard the phrase, “Oh! So you’re ______…,” as friends from former schools or jobs met current friends and life-long relatives.
For ten days leading up to the event, my phone kept showing that it was going to rain that day. And, as the weather for the surrounding days was continually updated, the little cloud with downward streaks of blue would not budge from that date. And then, the evening before, it changed to partly cloudy and the day ended up being beautiful. For nearly two weeks I gave myself agita for nothing! Well, not nothing. The party was the focus of my concentration for many weeks and the day of the party seemed non-stop to me. And, when it was over, I was so tired and sore that I collapsed into a recliner in the living room and didn’t even stand to greet the left over siblings, nieces and nephews when they left. Luckily they were all quite understanding and accommodating of their old uncle.
I am so grateful to everyone who took time to come and visit my mom and celebrate this milestone birthday with us. It was a day of friends and family and love. And I still haven’t come down from the high.
Thank you all who made it, for all of us, a beautiful day.