What a fun afternoon, as family members gathered in Oklahoma to celebrate two birthdays and an early Mother’s Day. Surprised today, was my brother Bryan, whose actual birthday is Tuesday. He was suspicious when he arrived at his mom’s house, and found too many cars parked around it. And genuinely surprised, I think, to find his sisters, sons, mother-in-law and other family waiting for him on the back patio. He arrived kind of quietly, so we almost muffed up the shout of “Happy birthday!”
Also surprised today was my sister Debbie, whose birthday is tomorrow. She thought she was attending a surprise party for our brother. My stepmom prepared birthday cakes for Bryan and Debbie and we all brought celebratory cards for both.
And, because tomorrow is also Mother’s Day, we honored my stepmom, Jerri. She received her own stack of cards and loving hugs.
It was an all out party. Steve grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and Jerri made her famous crockpot beans. Bryan’s wife Christel brought yummy hummus and I supplied organic non GMO tortilla chips and plant based dishes…potato and herb salad and colorful chopped salad. I passed on the burgers and hotdogs. And while everyone else enjoyed chocolate cake and ice cream, I had a delicious bowl of fresh chopped fruit.
I appreciated that Jerri gathered us all together. There was much laughter and an easy flow of conversation. The four younger kids present had a big yard to run and play in and the covered patio offered protection from the sun while allowing the breeze to cool us.
We chatted about life and summer plans, sang happy birthday, told stories and loved on each other. My family does many things well, and near the top of the list is celebrating each other.
These are precious times, as we create joy filled memories. The hours spent together are made more poignant by the keenly felt absence of my father, who passed away seven years ago. I still hear the echo of his voice, and his infectious laughter, in this place, the house he shared with my stepmother. I know he was with us in Spirit this afternoon, celebrating Bryan and Debbie. And I know he must feel proud of his wife who walked so valiantly with him through his illness, and now lives life to the fullest, for both of them.
As so often happens, after a fun day of being with each other, we vowed to get together again soon…for another celebration, or just because.
Happy birthday Bryan. I love you brother and I am proud of the amazing man you have become. I look forward to many more adventures together, including a shared trip to Scotland! Let’s plan that journey soon.
Happy birthday Debbie. I love you sister and appreciate your creativity and your compassionate heart. We have shared many adventures, with more just on the horizon. Thank you for walking with me.
Happy Mother’s Day Jerri. I love you, my second mom, and I am grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for your gracious hospitality today and for your courageous and generous heart.
I am so blessed with the beautiful souls that I call family.