The night before my parents anniversary, I picked up my sister from the airport and hubby dropped us off at the Downtown Cafe around 8:30PM. With my laptop and placement cards. We needed to go over the slide shows, party agenda and figure out who was sitting where. The slide show was the easiest part. Then came the seating arrangement. Which wasn’t too difficult either since we were only hosting about sixty guests. Finally we rounded off the program, going over a rough map of timing to make sure we didn’t spend too much time on speeches and left plenty of minutes for dancing.
My sister pretty much let me plan this one, which was fun since I never really planned a party like this before. Even my own wedding had so many voices in the decision-making process, I didn’t feel like I had a final say in much. Except maybe the Cheeseballs bit. Trying to remember who won them. It was all a gag really. While hubby and I walked around Target, zapping items for our wedding registry, we were having so much fun, we decided to include a few random items just to make our friends laugh. One of those items was… Cheeseballs. And then we decided that the first person to either purchase them for us or say something to us about it, like, “Why the heck would you register for ‘Cheeseballs?’” we’d award them the winning prize of [drum roll please…] Cheeseballs. And we did. I think Liz won them!
Anyway, back to my parents party, as much as you can plan an event, there are some things you just can’t plan for. And the unexpected often adds the elements of What? and wonder to a night when the unplanned often shows up in domino-effect style. As opposed to Gangnam style, that is.
“Not a day goes by that Mimi and Papa don’t teach me a life lesson or make me a better person.” Didn’t take too many words to get the tears flowing. Even the Deejay shared that he was fighting back tears when he heard the speech.
Then my littlest was on the program to sing, and moments before her song, she fell apart with a serious case of stage fright. What was amazing was how she agreed to sing, through her tears and crackling voice, because our neighbor who loves her like his own granddaughter gave her a pep talk that spoke to her in a language no one else could. Thanks Roy! You saved the day! And when a five-year old holds a mic and sings in front of a crowd, few care if it even sounds good, because it’s pure delight to see her courage and she didn’t sound half bad after all.
Then the third and most powerful moment happened during the second round of speeches. Hubby was doing a Take Two right before introducing the slide-show since the first time he planned to speak, my nephew’s words rendered him speechless. So he started over by sharing about my dad.
“Daddy and I have found ourselves in a few ditches since I joined the family. And he’s gotten me out of some ditches as well.” And he went on to share some humorous memories of our big water break with the back hoe and how Dad helped him to dig plenty of holes to save the tree house and move the deck too.
Just as he was rounding out his toast, my sister springs up spontaneously and takes the mic.
“I wasn’t going to say anything,” she begins. And according to our agenda notes last night, that’s what she had told me too. “But now that I hear Santhosh sharing about Mom and Dad and ditches, I just have to tell you about my parents and how each of them has rescued me out of many ditches in my life. I just have to tell you this so you can see what these two individuals are made of.”
And my sister went on to share about how Dad helped her in a moment when no one else could. He picked up her phone call in possibly one of the lowest points in her life and agreed to take a drive for her. A drive that spoke volumes of love lived out in a way only action could. Because in the end, love is action. And my dad acted. Not allowing his feelings to get in the way.
And then she talked about my mom. “Most of you know that I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back. Well, I just want you to know, that when I told my mom, she said to me, ‘Beta, if I could, I would take the cancer for you.’” That’s the kind of woman my mom is. The kind of parents we have. They will and they have gotten in so many ditches for me. And I am so thankful.”
And you can’t plan for moments like these. When hearts spill and eyes spill more. And when the last song played and a final round of hugs were given and received, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that this day was supposed to happen. And these things were supposed to be shared. And Mom and Dad know how much we love and appreciate them. And that was the end goal. From the beginning.
How about you? Is there someone in your life you need to celebrate? What are you waiting for? Perhaps a card, a phone call, or a hug might be in order. Get to it all! Life is short. Tell that person you love them. Today.