My family surprised me with a birthday party this past weekend. My husband and all my children (with the exception of one who lives on the other side of the country) helped plan it. It was a big birthday party, shared with my good friend Patti who is 5 days younger than I am.
My children helped make the food, decorate, set up, and arranged for many lovely details. (together with Patti's family)
My son-in-law's mother, who owns a catering business, donated her time and planned and put together the entire menu. My son-in-law's mother happens to be the sister-in-law of my good friend Patti. (Did you follow that?) She is my good friend as well. Since my daughter got married, I have long thought there should be a name for these made-by-marriage relationships. For example the mother of my son-in-law could be my moson-in law. Or she could be my dautmom-in law (my daughter's mother-in-law) And the brother of my son-in-law could be the broson-in-law. Or whatever. :-) In any case these people are all my family. And Patti would be the sildautmother-inlaw (sister-in-law of my daughter's mother-in-law) OK! I'll just call them all friends!!!!
If was a wonderful time. Except for my daughter's wedding, I can't think of another time when I was in the presence of so many people I love.
My children had a notebook where people had written kind words about us, poster boards where people wrote what they appreciated about us. They had decorated the tables with Fall theme-- balloons, candles, confetti. My son's girlfriend had purchased and arranged flower bouquets. They all came early. My daughter's boyfriend, whom we had only just met recently, came early and helped set up the tables and other preparations.
My SISTER FLEW IN FROM ST. LOUIS!!!!!!!!!!! In the first few seconds as I was realizing what was happening, I saw my sister's face in the crowd. That was when I started to cry. My brother was also there from Lansing and my dear niece Monique had come from Detroit! My oldest son and his girlfriend drove in from South Bend.
And if that wasn't enough for me to feel completely indulged there was an entire buffet line of delicious food that was all GLUTEN FREE!!! As many of you know, I cannot eat even the tiniest amount of gluten any more. The food was fantastic!!! And even about half of the desserts, many of which were made by my daughters, were gluten free. That was a lot of work!!
The cake was a flourless chocolate cake made by Patti's daughter. Patti and I blew the six candles out together.
There was coffee and all kinds of tea which my daughter had arranged, knowing that Patti and I are big tea drinkers.
They even had two large mugs (Patti and I like large mugs.) custom decorated by one of my daughters. Each had our name written on the handle (which was good lest we take home the wrong one. :-)
I'm sure I'm forgetting some details which I will add to this post as I remember them.
When I returned home that night I received a text from my youngest daughter's boyfriend who is a student at Notre Dame and also the son of one of my closest friends. (He's also one of the nicest young men I know.) He said that he was sorry he couldn't attend the party, but that he would go to the grotto that night and light a candle for me. I love that grotto. I have lit many a candle there myself. It is a peaceful place where the presence of the Blessed Mother can be keenly felt. To end this special evening with the knowledge that a candle had been lit for me at the grotto was....I can't put it in words.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to everyone who made this happen and especially to my husband and my children!!!!!!!!!!!!!
God is good. All the time.