This past weekend flew by in a flurry, as have the past three days. Last Friday I flew to Indianapolis to help Sister Runner Amy and my brother pull together a surprise birthday party for my mom. The key her is surprise, since it’s hard to get my Mom out of the house and 75 people into the house without her noticing or someone accidentally spilling the beans.
There is a long story here, and SRA said it better on her blog, but my Dad and my Aunt Debbie had arranged an intricate plot to get my Mom out of the house for a few hours so we could get in and clean and decorate without her knowing. They did a fabulous job, all way down to my Aunt Debbie hiding from my mom at the casino when she ran out of money to keep her there longer.
When we walked into the house we saw that our mother had been planning for a garage sale so every room was full of piles of things to go to in that garage sale and I seriously had doubts about getting the place ready in time. But we did it – cleaned the house,set up tents, picked up the BBQ catering, arranged parking for 75 people, got everyone quietly in the backyard, got a craps birthday cake (Mom loves her dice) AND were able to surprise our Mother. I’m not sure how, but everything fell perfectly into place.
My mom was so surprised that she cried and cried and cried. She hugged everyone and she cried some more. She was so chocked up that she had to go into the bedroom to pull her self together. We had friends and family there from across the country, people we hadn’t seen in years. It was a party! And a treat for everyone.
My mom is usually the one the hosting the parties – friends, family or strangers always want to go to Grandma’s or Aunt Mary’s because she makes sure all have a good time. You want an ice cream cone for breakfast? You got it! How about cookies for lunch? You don’t like the turkey? Well, Grandma will just pull out a skillet and make you a special grilled cheese sandwich. Not enough pool toys? Well you better believe the next time you come over for a swim there will a dozen more toys in that pool. She can watch five grandkids and cook a meal for seventeen people without blinking an eye. My Mom goes out of her way for everyone, that’s just what she does.
Growing up I watched friends and family who went through rough times rely on my mother – and my mother would never let them down. If you were sick, she took care of you – if you needed money, she gave you what she had – if you needed a place to live and we had a spare room, you moved in. There was always a steady flow of people living with us as I was growing up – grandmas, aunts, cousins – we learned how to share young because our immediate family of five was many times a family of six, seven, eight or more.
My mom was a young mother, and I know very little about her life before she met my father when she was 19 – but I’m guessing since she won’t speak of it, she had it pretty tough growing up. As kids our life wasn’t so tough, we never had as much as many of our peers, but we never went without. My mom worked in a factory, often overtime and third shift, to make sure we had what we needed. I held a lot of resentment when I was younger because my mom wasn’t always able to attend my all of my school functions – and when she did attend those functions I was often embarrassed because she looked tired, was covered in grease and smelled like a welder. I’m ashamed of those feelings now, but by no account could I have asked for a better mother. She provided me with a college education, and the values, morals and discipline to have the life I have now. And what a good life it is.
I could go on and on and on, but let’s get back to the party. It’s not often we are all together with our spouses and kids, it’s usually a combination of one or two of us, but we took advantage of the situation and pulled off a group picture. It was fast and furious and we’re not posing and we’re not all matchy matchy with our outfits, but we’re a good looking bunch, I think. My brother even smiled a bit and it didn’t cause his face to melt off. SRA uploaded the picture to Walgreens and we were able to get it developed and give it to my Mom before the end of the party.
The party was a total success and my mom is still talking about it, she can’t believe we were able to do what we did AND keep it a surprise. I can’t believe it either. My mother is a very wise woman and it’s not often we can pull the wool over her eyes – but this time we did – we pulled off an amazing party for an amazing woman.