The Gift of Winter Winds: Surprise and Memories

The Gift of Winter Winds: Surprise and Memories

Of course I would believe my younger daughter Christie and my husband if they were all about my choosing the proper outfit to wear to a fundraiser last Saturday night. John and I were to arrive at my daughter’s home at 5:00pm to enjoy some time with our grandchildren and then leave around six for this event. The Los Angeles area was experiencing strong winter-like winds and because it’s the holiday season, the notorious 405 freeway was even more notorious. We finally ditched that plan and took side roads to our daughter’s house. Bottom line: WE WERE LATE. But I had no clue. The fundraiser would have to wait.

At the front door, my Harry Potter loving granddaughter had, unbeknownst to me, covered a party dress with her Hogwarts cape, eager to show me one magic trick before we left. I was told to close my eyes as she led me into the family room. When I opened them? The magic was a tent attached to the house and strung with sparkling Italian lights that shed glow on the faces before me. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN GIFTED WITH A SURPRISE PARTY? This is my blessed third. It’s a stunning experience.

I was blown away with the winds of surprise. Why was my older daughter Carrie and her husband here? We had just texted earlier that day. She was in Boston. And my son Andrew was in Chicago with his girlfriend Amy. They weren’t arriving for Christmas until the following Thursday evening.

NOT! Here they all were and my brother and his wife and my grandchildren and son-in-law and my niece and her boyfriend. Here they all were smiling and shouting Happy Birthday, though that date is a few months away. But all agreed with my younger daughter–people would be gathering for Christmas, let’s celebrate MOM now.

And so they did, with an elegant meal and flowers on the table and glasses of champagne and fancy hats. Because this was my Jubilee and was celebrated as if we were all attending an English garden party to celebrate my “quiet” aging.

But mothers who are dearly loved don’t get away with perfection. The banner expertly and lovingly prepared by my older daughter became a list of mom-isms. I could tell that everyone contributed:

GRAMMAR POLICE           BRITISH HISTORY FAN        BOO-BOO FIXER

JAMES TAYLOR FAN          DAD’S BEST AUDIENCE      GREEN THUMB

CHICKEN SQURES CONNIOSSEUR     KEEPER OF MEMORIES

WHITE TORNADO (I love to clean)          BEAUTIFUL SINGER (some exaggeration)

LOVING WIFE     BEST NOTES IN LUNCH BOX           BEST SMILE

AMAZING WRITER            BETHIE           WONDERFUL MOM

They also presented me with a book of memories that include precious letters from everyone there AND notes from friends from everywhere. My younger daughter Christie contacted people and they wrote back or emailed. She typed up those who emailed! Lots of work and yet so precious. She also added photos that people sent. Something to cherish, her labor of love beyond words.

Though the winds have died down in southern California, winter is here and so are the holidays of the season. I wish all of you celebrations and precious memories as you gather with those you love, Beth.

The Gift of Winter Winds: Surprise and Memories

Feeling like a queen.

The Gift of Winter Winds: Surprise and Memories

My grandmother’s china on the table, a wonderful reminder of connection

 

 

Aging and Its Special Gifts

Aging and Its Special Gifts

A card that echoes a shared past.

I remember when I turned 30 and I was stunned by the concept. 30–was it possible!! My husband and I were already blessed with one child and hoping for another. Our day to day lives proceeded and before we knew it, we had our second daughter, had moved to a different house, were making new friends. What a good life! And then I woke up one morning and I was 42 and we had our son and I went back to school and my husband’s career kept expanding. Were we looking at our very lives??  Or were we living them. The latter. Because as life takes you down the pathway that you are kind of in control of–something else is happening. You are aging. Sometimes you realize it–a glance in the mirror, the death of someone your age, a disappointment. It causes reflection, which as we age becomes a gift.

The Gift of Aging–I’m Still Here 

I just had a birthday. I am healthy and pursing goals. I can look back on my gifted life and I can look forward. Certainly there’s more behind me than in front of me–yet a person in their twenties might hope it’s the opposite (more ahead than behind) but as mortals we never know.

Each day we could awaken and celebrate a gift. Wow, what would that look like?

  • My backache is gone
  • I don’t have a doctor’s appointment today, LOL
  • My daughter is going to call
  • I’m going to see my grandchildren
  • My husband and I have planned a hike
  • We’re picking up our friends from Chicago at the airport

There could be many more–I have time to read; I’m excited about the writing I did today; my hydrangea is finally blooming.

Slow It Down 

Life is blessed with the big and the little. And as we age, some of these things take on the importance that they should have always had. Because we now can examine each day with care, focus on the gifts of living, realize that the loss of a hectic life means time to take it in slowly and not in a hurried rush.

Friday I had a birthday. It didn’t end in a zero, but those years come around soon enough. Here are some of the precious and meaningful gifts I received.

  • My daughter in Boston sent me the collage above, reminding me that when she and her sister were little, we would make cards by cutting pictures out of magazines. The lovely gift echoed a memory that brings back cherished times. Thanks, Carrie.
  • My brother and his wife gave this gardener the gift of plants that will thrive, I hope, on my patio. Aging and Its Special Gifts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • My son called me, cheered me on, sent me two songs he is working on. Love you, Andrew.
  • My younger daughter hosted a lovely day with all the family who are living in California. We celebrated at a dinner where we watched the sun drop into the ocean. A perfect ending–or was it another beginning? Thanks, Christie.

    Aging and Its Special Gifts

    After each sunset, we hope for a sun rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there were gifts:

Aging and Its Special Gifts

Wow, she knows me so well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brennan, my grandson, created a book for me, Brennan’s Kitchen Secrets. I’m sharing only one page of this cookbook. Who knows, one day it might be copyrighted.

Aging and Its Special Gifts

One of Brennan’s recipes.

My granddaughter made me a bracelet and my other grandson presented the gifts at the party–he makes a perfect host.

There were phone calls and birthday cards in the mail and gift cards online and a couple from Chicago who always gift me with the Happy Birthday song off-key–of course. What would I do without these treasures?

They are the things about my life that I cherish and always will–my family, my friends, their presents of love and hugs and kind words; their creativity and out-of-the-norm gifts. My husband and I need them in our lives. I guess you could say that these are the gifts that aging brings. Not so bad after all. A toast to that!!

Aging and Its Special Gifts

Aging and Its Special Gifts

The art of a granddaughter’s love.