This weekend my family gathered in one place with a few friends to celebrate my mother’s sixtieth birthday, or what she says is her “30+30 birthday.”
Do not hate me, but I myself am not a huge birthday person. I personally do not make a big to do about my own birthday. I don’t know why, just not my jam.
My mom, and in turn I, abide by three birthday rules. One, you have to have a cake (or a dessert delicacy). You blow out candles. And three, the morning after your birthday you eat cake for breakfast because it is no different than a doughnut. If those three things are done, I deem a birthday successful. This is my gauge.
So months back when my siblings started talking about throwing a party for my mom, I did not understand. I love my mom. A lot. Side note, but I won the family lottery. But I didn’t get why we were throwing a party.
I have learned in my “celebrating birthdays with people who really love their birthdays” failures through the years to go along with the planning. It never hurts to celebrate people even if I don’t get it as deeply as they seem to understand the sentiment.
In the end we put on a festive and beautiful “Adrienne’s Favorite Things Party” on Friday and Saturday. I contributed ideas, got the cake and helped set up. But let’s be honest, the others really carried the team. And for that I say, “thank you.” We sang happy birthday, laughed and ate more sugar than I’ve eaten in a very long time.
I admit, we had a really good time, and not just because my four year old nephew got to shoot off a confetti gun repeatedly.
After we cleaned up the party, minus the glitter left behind from the unsuspecting ribbon, we made dinner. And then, we did what we do best.
We sat around the kitchen table long after our meal was done. We just sat there as a family talking and laughing. Katy’s mom, who has known my mother since middle school, sat with us. We told stories and sharpened our comedic timing. We discussed how our feet sweat and we don’t talk in the morning. And why we did not understand how other people did not just understand this. We actually made a plan for the holidays which is just a win for humanity because we are notorious for last minute details.
As we sat there telling stories, sharing our hearts, laughing and crying I had a moment. This was the first big fun family event since my Meemaw passed away. Though I do not remember my Meemaw at my mother’s birthday parties, I know my mother celebrated many many birthdays with her.
My mother was telling all about her birthday trip the Pioneer Woman and the food they ate at The Lodge. And then she showed us the card she got from her dad. She said that was when she cried. There was only one name, her dad’s.
The finality of death hung heavy in all of us. I didn’t even look at the card and was grateful I’d have a little under a year before I’d have to do so for myself. Though there is peace in knowing my Meemaw is made whole and in heaven, there is still a sting.
But as we sat there jumping from topic to topic, I realized something precious.
My Meemaw was still so present throughout the day.
My mom had two of her four lifelong friends with her to celebrate. Friends her mom prayed for her to specifically have. I firmly believe if you can get through middle school with a friend and they still talk to you, that friendship doesn’t leave, ever.
She had all of her feet under the table – meaning all of her children’s feet were under the table*.
We all crammed into the kitchen and stumbled over each other to prepare whatever it is we were making, just like Meemaw taught us to do.
We stayed up far too late talking, just like Meemaw modeled.
The legacy of the woman we lost lived boldly this weekend. The impact she had on each person in that room was evident. Even though it hurt, the day burst with the beauty of knowing she’s woven so deeply into the fiber of each of us. I pray we never cease to see her impact in and through our lives.
As we all head into a busy season full of things, look for the moments you are shaping your legacy. I don’t want to just fill up a calendar or check things off of a list. I want to leave a legacy that ripples far beyond me. I pray you capitalize on those moments that will shape that lasting legacy throughout this week and beyond.
*except for John David who was dearly missed and we could’ve used for some simple gun safety techniques for Levi… Also, this kid is the cutest, so here is another video to watch.