The rain held off, the friends showed up, we had ramen and stir (Sir) fried veggies, sidewalk chalk and bubbles, a gorgeous cake, homemade onigiri
And the masterfully created Totoro,
and his companions, the Chu Totoro and Chibi Totoro!
It really was a beautiful day, for lots of reasons, like the blue sky and the gathering clouds, the company and laughter, and all the talents and generous gifts from family and friends. My Neighbor Totoro
, and director Miyazaki's other works, were new to many of Maria's friends, so she decided to play the movie.
It's such an imaginative story, with gorgeous animation, I never tire of seeing it, and I hope there are new fans, now.
Oh, my gosh! Can you believe Ruth's cake? She used marzipan, and chocolate stones, and obviously a lot of love, because it was not only darling to look at, it tasted delicious. Not a crumb was left. Bambi's painting is full of Miyazaki characters, and Maria uttered a delighted gasp of joy when she opened the gift. I loved all of the handmade cards, gifts, and personal touches, and watching the children make the party their own. I left out some bubbles and sidewalk chalk, and they took it from there... there wasn't a dull moment!
William and Alex really did a lot to bring Maria's theme to life. William envisioned a giant Totoro standing in the backyard, so he went to the computer and developed his own illustration of the big fellow, then he and Geoff set up the projector and had his drawing projected onto the primed plywood. Next, William and I traced the figure onto the wood. William and Geoff painted him. By bedtime, we had a giant forest spirit gazing at us from the porch. Seeing there was plenty of wood leftover, Alex sketched the tiny Chibi Totoro,
then the blue Chu Totoro.
He was painting them the day of the party, and we were squeeing!
as they were finishing. Their arrival made the whole scene complete... and completely adorable!
I've lost count of the number of hugs, thank yous,
and smiles Maria gave us... she spent at least 72 hours in utter bliss and gratitude. And now, she's ten years old, and ohmygoodness
that is hard to believe, until I realize that she is every bit a smart, kind, creative, excited, friendly, polite, and ready girl, very much ten years old. She really does make us as happy as can be.