Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Slice of Life - 80 Birthdays

I've been participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers. I love the challenge of composing a piece of writing at least once a week about life or teaching.
     Recently I wrote about my word for the year:  JOURNEY.  This Labor Day weekend I took a journey to Richmond, VA, to celebrate my aunt's 80th birthday.  What a weekend it was!  All her children and their families, plus my mom, who is her youngest sister, and I came together to give homage to this beautiful, wise, and wonderful woman.  We celebrated HER journey, which began on September 1st, 1933, and continues to inspire her new friends in her retirement community, her lifelong friends all over world, and her family.  Her son's wife put together a scrapbook of pages that we filled out for her:
Happy 80th Birthday from ___________________________________________
Three words I would use to describe you are ____________________________
Something we like to do together is ___________________________________
I will always remember when we went to __________________________
I want you to know that _____________________________________________
Some words of wisdom that you imparted _________________________
A memory of you that I treasure is _________________________________
When I think of you I think __________________________________________
Thank you for ______________________________________________________ 
I hope your birthday is ____________________________________________
     Her other son and grandson also asked for as many pictures as we could find, and they put together a slide show with music.  At the birthday dinner, we all read the page we each wrote (many battling tears and also laughing hysterically when they read them) and watched the video, also amidst tears and laughter.  One of my cousins who couldn't be there sent the party favors:  300 hand-stamped clothespins to put in small paper bags adorned with stamped sparrows.  The hand-stamped words were to remind us of the guest of honor and the occasion.  The clothespins can be used to clip on gifts, hold photographs, bundle letters or notes, and various other ideas.  There was, of course, cake, food and wine, and fellowship, complete with joke and story-telling.  We even Skyped one of her nephews, who is a teacher in Bahrain, and called another niece and granddaughter who couldn't attend.  They were there in spirit (and by technology)!
     I was also lucky enough to get a visit from my niece who attends William & Mary, less than an hour away from Richmond.  She drove over and spent Sunday morning with us.
     Family is a blessing, and not to brag (wink), but mine is talented, funny, interesting, and inspiring.  I was blessed to make a journey this weekend that reminded me that life's most precious moments include the people we love.  Time is short, and this journey we're traveling here on Earth is only a blink of an eye.  We must take the time to tell the people we love that they matter, and that they've made our lives richer, and we'll never forget them.  Tell them NOW.  It is so much better to gather for a celebration birthday than a funeral, so never pass up the opportunity to do that!
The family - the guest of honor is up front with her great grandchildren:

 With our "80" glasses on:

The party favors:
One of my favorite hand-stamped words:  SCATTER JOY - that's what my aunt does!  Happy Birthday!!



  1. Such a wonderful tribute to a person who sounds worthy of a fantastic celebration! Glad you got to celebrate with her, Holly!

  2. Great post. Thanks for reminding us to love our family face to face when we can.

    1. Thanks, Beth. Sometimes we need that reminder - life gets so busy!

  3. Scatter joy, what a great phrase! I think that may become my new mantra. Family is what is important. What a marvelous celebration this was!