Post party mellow. I am content and pleased. I think everything went well. Guests arrived safely, and there was plenty of food, and it was hot, but not unbearable. And now I am reflecting on the faces and hugs, the laughter and joy. I am reveling in the memory of Natalia showing us the signs for 'candy' and 'girl.' A great grandson was overheard to say, "This is so much fun. I didn't know our family was this big." Anticipating the party was fun and creative, being at the party was invigorating and busy, but it is the memories that will be my lasting treasure.
We danced, barefooted, on concrete. My feet hurt, other parts too! "Singing Sarah and the Surf Cowboys" played and sang, and we ate and danced. Bill, my brother, and Gretchen, our sister in law, led us in an improvised 'line dance.' It was a sort of a Western, free-form-aerobics thing with a little Buster Keaton action. I am neither athletic, nor a dancer, but I had fun trying. I should take a more cautious approach when trying to keep up with triathletes, and natural talents like my cousin, Julie. Henry and Eva, of course, made a beautiful couple; under the stars and in each others arms. And I know that Grandmother was pleased to take a spin on the dance floor, in the arms of my uncle Larry.
My mom decorated with a series of photographs of Grandmother, strung on brightly colored ribbon. And several people brought flower arrangements. Steve came with his 4 children, and they brought a particularly large flower vase; it's beautiful. Rebecca shared her albums of family genealogy and photographs. Her work on collecting family history was enjoyed by all. It was fun matching faces and names, and looking at all the 'old' pictures; our parents as children, and their parents too.
There were many generous gifts and thoughtful cards. Grandmother will be shopping for books, and clothes with gift cards. She has more plants and flowers to enjoy. Gil put his welding skills to work and produced a tiered candle holder; each level representing a generation descended from Grandmother. Grandma looked so beautiful and serene reading her cards and opening her gifts, with her eager great-grandchildren surrounding her.
It was an honor to have so much family come and celebrate with us. There were people we had not seen in (too) many years like; Javier and Julie, and Mary Alice. And we even met cousins, Lydia and Liz, for the first time. It was a treat to have Bill and his fiancee, Alison, in town. And busy locals, like Hans and Gretchen, were a treat as well. We were surrounded by friendly family, and friends that are like family. I hope everyone shares photographs; cameras were clicking and flashing in to the night.
Grandmother implored us to hold on to each other; we should not lose touch with one another, or with the memories of those loved ones who came before us. She reminded us all that our histories, the happy memories, as well as the sad times and difficult losses, are what make us who we are today. We were together, enjoying each other's company, laughter and warmth, because of the men and women of our families who have loved, guided and supported us throughout. I think Grandmother's gift to us was that she asks us to continue to be a close and loving family. She wants us to carry on what she, and her parents and her aunts and uncles, and their own parents started: they started our past, present and our future, our strengths and faith, gifts and even the dimples in our chins, the light in our smiles.
We are all God's children. We are all a family. I hope to see our love encircle and uplift every person we meet, and fulfill Grandmother's wish.