This past Saturday night, my sister and I pulled off the unimaginable. We surprised our parents! Now, I'm sure we've surprised them with many things before now—boyfriends, progress reports, speeding tickets(!)—but we've never really been able to pull off a good surprise, especially one of this size.
They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past April. They were at their Florida home when the date came and went. I sent a card with the promise of taking them out to dinner when they arrived in New England. My sister didn't send a thing. As April turned to May, and May to June, I'm sure they were thinking they raised two very ungrateful daughters. Little did they know that plans for a surprise party had already begun.
I'm the oldest, but my sister took the reigns on this one. Not used to taking a backseat roll, I went with it. She got it started and then we collaborated from two different states to pull it all together. I won't bore you with all of the details, but I will let you know that there were times I thought this is never going to work.
Since retiring, my parent are two of the most active people I know. I mean, you need to literally make an appointment to see them! I don't know how many times I've heard "Nope, can't make that day". Since family and friends were in on the whole surprise from the beginning, no one tried to book August 15th. In June, I casually asked my mother if my family could spend the weekend at their home so we could all attend a surprise awards ceremony for my father-in-law and could they make it too. Surprise, surprise... they could.
Friends and relatives from all over came to celebrate with us. There were people there I hadn't seen in decades, never mind years. Our family spans generations, and I'm not just talking about the usual pecking order. I have cousins younger than my own children. I'm the oldest of the bunch on one side and on the older end of the spectrum on the other. Although I only have one sister, I have oodles of cousins and now second cousins. At one point, there were first and second cousins on the dance floor only a few years apart in age. I have one aunt, who was more like a big sister growing up, only ten years older than me, and an uncle who's only four and half years older than me. There's almost eleven years between my oldest and my youngest. I think it keeps all of us young. Well, at least in spirit anyway.
As I looked around the room, a huge wave of nostalgia kept pulling me under throughout the night. I was reminded of the people who are no longer with us and praying this wouldn't be the last time I saw some others. I tried to talk to as many people as I could, but there's just never enough time.
I left that evening with a very full heart. I made promises to see people I intend to keep. Life will be changing drastically as Amanda leaves for college in a few weeks. I think it's time I hit the road and got to know these people all over again.
I've been told since that night what a great time people had and I am happy that everyone enjoyed themselves. I had my three children all together again, my parents were not only surprised, but thrilled to see everyone, and I got to watch all of the smiling, laughing faces of the people I love, enjoy being together.
It doesn't get any better than this.