I've been holding out on you. If I've seen a bit distant, it's because I've felt a bit distant. Really. Since the beginning of February, I've been a party planner. At least a party planner for one party that took countless hours to plan. You see my father decided he wanted to have a surprise party for my mother's 80th birthday. He had never given her a surprise party and I guess that is one thing he wanted to cross off his bucket list. So I feel like my second job has been party planning. Not that I mind. It was a lot of fun. It also required a lot of patience and since the party was in Phoenix it required a lot of faith. Well, we celebrated my mom's birthday on Saturday and I must say it was the first time I ever saw her speechless. My dad was in 7th heaven that he pulled it off.
I am now in perfect party planning mode for the upcoming bridal shower we are planning for a friend. That will be so much easier because it will be in our backyard and I will do the cooking. The first issue we had to resolve for my mom's celebration was where to have the party. After looking at all the major resorts my father decided that he wasn't giving a wedding; he was giving a party and once we decided on Soul Cafe (one of my parent's favorite restaurants), the planning became a whole lot easier. Sheila was so easy to work with; not like all the stick in the mud resorts. She allowed my creativity to shine and was open to any menu ideas and recipes. Her staff was the huggy, warm kind and they outdid themselves Saturday night.
So how does one give an 80th surprise party? Very carefully! My brothers, family and Dad were so careful to watch what we said; which meant I couldn't let you in on my secret life because my mother does read this blog. Sorry I haven't been posting like usual, but this took a lot of planning. With my cousin and Aunt's help we actually had a really fun party. I love details so I think you will see some of them in the photos. I didn't get to take as many photos as I wanted but at least they convey the mood. We had great paper decorations that I found on Etsy and had shipped from Israel of all places. I hung tissue paper flowers from the Palo Verdes tree in the courtyard and we had two gigantic orange balloons that also were major focal points. The tassel garlands were so festive hanging on the head table. I think all the happy colors put everyone in a great mood. The flowers were fabulous and perfectly matched the paper goods. The hot pink votives really made the tables glow. The ribbons around the napkins added extra color and the name cards were fun and carefully placed. Zoe did a play list of oldies and goodies and though we couldn't hear them well they still added to the ambiance.
Below is the speech I gave for mom:
Well, Mom. We got you good this time and on a momentous occasion like this, there are a few things worth remembering. I know your mind is probably not as clear as mine, (after all, I am younger), so travel back in time with me if you will.
First let me mention that I am writing this in pen. I haven't written anything in pen in a long time except for the occasional check. You probably still write in pen-because you are old. Whoops. 80 years young to be politically correct. Whoops! no politics at this party for fear of offending the wrong side!
So on to our back in time adventure. Next to Dad, Aunt Shirley and Aaron, I believe I have know you the longest. Which means I am old, too. But not as old as you. This means you have loved me longer than people like my brothers, which of course must mean you love me the most!
Being the only girl and the oldest also means I'm there for all those special moments in your life. I'm there to help move you. I'm there to help care for you. I'm there to help plan this party. It means I've got your back, Mom. just like you've had mine all these years.
Being your daughter means I've had special bathroom moments with you that my brothers never did. My mornings began as I walked into the bathroom and saw you on the pot with a lit cigarette. You said not a word to me until you had the first cup of coffee which was waiting for you in the kitchen. As you exited the bathroom you left me pondering the meaning of my existence and what actually was my place in the world. Two things were accomplished in this bathroom moment. #1 I've never had a desire to smoke and #2 I've never figured out my reason for being.
Being the only girl allowed me to raid your closet for the latest fashions. You always had the trendiest stuff and looking back at your old photos I realize what a trend setter you were and WHAT A POSER! I also raided your lingerie drawer but not for the lingerie. We all know you had a GIANT Hershey's bar with almonds hidden in its depths. No, it wasn't me that discovered this, it was my brother David.
Being the only girl also allowed me to watch as you created yourself in the bathroom before an evening out-of which you had many. I witnessed those special moments as you wiggled yourself into a girdle with garters and later tummy control panty hose. You then applied blue eye makeup, eye liner and doused yourself in Shalimar, which I believed help rid the bathroom of smoke. All this was done while Dad patiently waited for you. You were always late and I presume it is because you wanted to make a grand entrance.
And what an entrance you made tonight. It will not be forgotten. Dad called a few months ago and said the one thing he had never done was throw you a surprise party. I believe he finally achieved his goal.
Being your child gave me an appreciation of all things fine. Alex would say that you probably started the "Finer Things Club". Fine wine, fine food, fine art, books, travel and music are important to you. Thank you for helping me achieve the "culture" you always felt was important.
In your own way you have given me a love of Judaism and that is still a big part of my life. I am thankful for that. You have shown me what a good man is without saying a word. You have shown me that even though a Virgo is known for being fussy, fastidious, harsh, conservative and judgmental, they are also intelligent, practical and reliable. All good skills for being a mother.
In conclusion, I can only hope to live to 80. I can only hope my life is half as good as yours appears to be. I can only hope that the next 80 years are better than the first. Being a mother is not easy. I'm grateful that you made it look easy for the last 57 years, well, except of course for those Virgo moments. I'm grateful you are my mom. Happy Birthday!
and the fortunes:
Last, but not least Manservant and I created a cocktail which we called "The Libby", named after my mom. It combined St. Germain, iced tea vodka and lemon. Let me tell you these slide easily down your throat and went perfectly with our picnic style meal. This is the perfect summer drink, but be careful. They go down easy! OK. I know this is a super long post, but I must document history! It is hard to make my mom speechless!
The Libby (Serves 1)
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 oz St. Germain
2 oz Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka (we did some taste comparisons with these)
2 drops grapefruit bitters
Club soda to taste
Stir into a tall Collins glass. (We used a 14 oz glass.) Fill with ice cubes. Add club soda to rim sand garnish with a lemon slice.
Other fun drinks and nibbles:
St Germain Arnold Palmers
St Germain Lemon Aid
The Gardener Cocktail
Saigon Crunch Chex Mix
Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip