Monday, September 15, 2008

happy 70th birthday, mom...

On Saturday night, we threw a party for my mom's 70th birthday.

To be honest, it was really her idea. We'd figured we would do something for her birthday and mentioned a party.

But then she kept bringing it up, as in "Here's a good date for my party." Or, "Here's who we should invite to my party," and "How big do you think this party should be?"

You could even say she was a bit persistent.

And so we sent out invitations, got the decorations, figured out the food and drink menu and ordered the cake.

We fussed over how much to make and whether the party should be in the evening or afternoon, and prayed for warm weather so that people could be outside in the yard.

We spent the day of the party doing prep--cooking food, preparing a slideshow, and Dan, Mari, and I rolled more sushi than forty people could ever hope to eat.

At 7pm, we were ready to go.

Dan even had to squeeze in the requisite little brother move of pretending to take a photo of someone else with the camera phone, but instead taking his own picture.

But what I didn't realize until the moment in the picture below, was how much this party really reflected who my mom is.

It was a great party because she loved it. My mom loves her friends and her community and she is very involved with them. Pretty much everyone we invited showed up because they love her and as she made her way around the room, I could see that everyone there was incredibly important to her.
A few people made some short speeches about how amazing her community involvement is, or how dynamic she is, and if I were a different kind of person, I would've made a speech, too. Or, perhaps if my drinks had been stronger, I might have also made a speech.

But since I'm not and they were not (lesson learned--stronger drinks next time), I'll say what I wanted to here.


I think that if I had to sum up some of the most important gifts you've blessed me with as your daughter, I would choose these three that have most impacted my life.

Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love looks like. You have always been my safe place, and even when we don't agree, I know that neither one of us will ever go to sleep angry.

Thank you for expecting so much from me. Even though your expectations have always been high, your expectations have enabled me to expect so much from myself, and to believe that I'm capable of doing what I feel I need to. You have taught me how to be strong.

And, thank you for sharing your love of literature with me. Besides opening up entire new worlds for me as a child, in what is probably the simplest explanation possible, your high school English teacher instructions that a paper (or a poem, or a story, or even a fraction of one's life) needs to be, and can be, revised until it is where you want it, has taught me that nothing is finished until you decide it is.

I love you and we are so lucky to have you in our lives...

And Happy Birthday, to Natalie, my mom's twin sister! We love you!


Becky said...

Happy Birthday Aunt Sheila!

Great post!! I got all teary eyed..

p.s. you look so damn cute!

zeghsy said...

happy birthday! geez, you guys are definitely blessed with great genes. i hope i look half as good as both of them when i get there. :)