Five years ago, I made a mistake. I had a chance to throw my parents a 40th Anniversary party, and I didn’t. I chickened out. I was scared of life’s “what if’s.” But I hate the fact that I let my fears dictate my decision.
Six months ago, like Jonah in the belly of a whale surrounded by a choir of gospel singers [great Veggie Tales movie by the way,] I received a second chance.
October 11, 2012 would mark my parents’ 45th anniversary, and if I started right now [then, June-ish] I could throw them the party I’d been dreaming of my whole life.
You see, I have two really amazing parents. I’m not talking the kind you just blow kisses at and thank on stage when you’re receiving an Oscar. In my life, they are my heroes. My super-heroes really. And there aren’t enough trees in Yosemite to make the paper I’d need to list the reasons why I think so.
Before I go on, I’ll just clarify. Mom and Dad are not perfect. And they will both be the first to admit that. But they are the most loving, generous, wise, and beautiful people I know, and they are truly worth celebrating. Because life is short and I don’t plan to wait another five years to say, “Thank you” and “I love you” with a party and some dancing. Cuz if you’re from the North, as in Punjab, North India, nothing says par-tay like some hip-hopping bhangra!
So I send out the initial emails to find the most optimum date in the month of October, because there are key people who should be there. Family. Siblings. Their kids. Their grandkids, of course. The people who light up their smiles when they walk through a door.
When enough people respond, I send out the Save the Dates. Then I find a place and things are getting exciting. Several friends of ours have had their weddings at the Swan Club and the flower gardens at the back are still blooming in early fall. Plus swans are the ultimate symbol of love. Just put their arching necks together, and voila! A heart!
Then I freak out. This is costly. But I want to make it happen and just as I debate baking the cake, asking my twelve-year-old to deejay with her iPod and asking my five-year old to take pics, a slew of blessings rush in like ocean waves, and knock me over! I find out about a friend who is just starting up his deejay business. Another friend with a really nice camera agrees to play photographer for the day. And the kicker of kickers, the cafe owner where I write lends me his mobile screen for slide shows! That’s like a bazillion dollars saved!
Then, at the T-minus two weeks mark, the RSVP’s have rolled in and we are almost ready! But I haven’t done the slide shows yet. So hubs buys a VHS to DVD converter and we spend a whole weekend watching old footage of my parents with their grandkids when they were just teeny-tiny. Memories. Where did the time go?
Then family members begin emailing me old pics of my parents when they were younger and I have plenty of material…just need to put it all together. And iMovie makes me want to be a movie producer by the time I finish the trip down memory lane slide show. The best part: On my parents last visit back in February, I interviewed both Mom and Dad [separately] about each other on our video camera, so I was able to feed the audio of their humorous and tender responses interspersed with love songs on the 25 minute slide show of photographs of yesteryear. I thought about shortening it, then realized that that wasn’t too bad: reducing 45 years of marriage down to 25 minutes. The guests will just have to endure. Because I’m keeping it now. Every last picture.
Then for the fun video. I had an idea of a dance video to “Call Me Maybe” but I wasn’t sure how to translate it.
My parents are an arranged marriage. So the words sort of apply:
“Hey I just met you.” My parents barely knew each other when they tied the knot.
“This is crazy.” Life is crazy. Marrying someone you hardly know. Crazy if you ask me.
“But here’s my number.” Don’t think Mom actually gave Dad her number, per se. Her ring size, maybe.
“So call me maybe.” And he did. And he still does. And after all this time, he’s so expressive of his love and dedication to my mother, I often have to rub my eyes and look twice. Because he’s not your typical Indian man from his generation. Unless you’re talking Bollywood, but everyone knows that no one has time to change outfits and pop out from behind trees while singing “I love you,” in real life.
To make the spoof of “how my parents met,” I asked my girls and my nephews to do a variety of dance moves and fun little scenes around the house and in our yard and then added hubby and his crazy self dancing in the mix. Then I sat down to video-edit the whole thing in a matter of hours. It was so fun to put together, I seriously contemplated dropping writing and switching careers. But I have yet to find someone who got rich on YouTube. Besides J.B. But I can’t sing. So scratch that.
Anyway, everything was done and we were T-12 hours from the event. Guests were arriving, and I needed to iron my sari. Only pull out my Indian garb for special days like this, and so thankful to my BFF for buying me the kind of sari I always dreamed of. Plain. Solid. Royal blue chiffon. Nothing fancy. That’s what I wanted. And then I’d glitz it up with some fun jewelry and blue eye shadow. Borrowed from my girls, of course!
Anyway, I had two goals for my parents’ anniversary party:
1. To celebrate my parents.
2. To have every couple that arrived fall just a little more in love with each other.
Because in the end, I’m a romantic. And I wanted the night to be one of romance and fun. Because whether your marriage was arranged or you fell in love, any relationship that lasts forty-five years makes me think love story worth sharing and worth celebrating.
Come back tomorrow and find out how the party went down! Toasts. Dancing. And a fun video for those who missed it on my FB page.
**Have you ever had to prepare a toast for a special occasion? Did you go with funny or sentimental? Write it down or spontaneous? Don’t let Thanksgiving be the only week you think thankful thoughts!