Well, we pulled it off. We surprised our Mama with a party for her 60th birthday. Even though she had no idea until maybe just before she walked in, and the party went off without a hitch, I can’t help but feel that one day is just not enough to celebrate this amazing woman.
Sure, my dad, sisters and I planned it for a few months — which was extremely difficult without my mom. Kind of funny, huh? I mean, of course it was planned without her. It was a surprise! But we are so used to her expertise in party planning, her take-charge ability to get a place reserved, send out invites, order a cake, and cook the food, that it was almost unfamiliar territory for us.
Thankfully, my parents live in a nice neighborhood with a pool and clubhouse that we could rent out for a decent price, so location was not too hard to decide on. But, that meant my dad had to secretly reach out to reserve it — which is totally not something he would have ever had to do. My mom would have handled all of that.
But, he did it. Heck, he even got a check out of her checkbook for a deposit without her knowing. I was impressed.
Deciding on food was one of the hardest parts. You see, my mom can cook some of the most delicious things — from her spot-on broccoli cheese casserole, along with her calico beans and topped off with her infamous “Special K treats,” no catered food would ever compare. Even if my dad can do up the best ham around, he would not be able to discreetly do that with my mom around, so that was out as well.
Instead of trying our hands out in the kitchen, we went with picking up food instead. Oh, but how much do we order? Figuring that out proved to be quite the conundrum. This day and age, RSVPs are almost nonexistent. Even with a secret event on social media, many people checked their attendance as “maybe.”
Listen, if there is one thing my mother has taught me about feeding a group of people it is this: Do not run out of food. And I was adamant about it. This is my mom’s party, so we had better not break her top rule.
But party planning with my sisters proved to be a little, well, interesting. You see, one sister (who shall remain nameless) is — how do I say this — frugal. She just may be the clone of our father when it comes to money.
She totally stepped up her game and pretty much led the planning (which was a complete relief to me during this busy time of back to school). But I mean, she was sending us an updated spreadsheet every few days calculating pennies spent ha!
By far the hardest part of planning this party was keeping it from my very best friend. I talk to Mom about five times a day. As the party drew near, I had to spout off little lies. Not only do I despise lying, but if there is one thing I have been awful at since my teenage years, it is lying to my mom. Yet, somehow, through changing the subject, “accidentally” missing her phone calls and partial truths, I managed to keep this from her.
And the party was amazing. So many friends and family members joined to celebrate this wonderful lady who does so much for us daily. We never ran out of food, the decorations were on point, the cake was perfect and everyone had an amazing time.
It was good. Really good.
But one day just doesn’t seem to be enough for me. You see, this lady deserves it all. She isn’t just my mother. She is a secret keeping, storytelling, spider killing, life lesson teaching, unconditional loving, Jesus educating, dinner making, caretaking, fever breaking, grandbaby snuggling, work encouraging, hug giving, kiss giving, everything giving, beautiful inside and out best friend.
For 60 years she has been a blessing to this world — 34 of those years I am thankful to have been a part of. And one afternoon party, even as amazing as it was, cannot reciprocate all the love that she has poured out over the years. But, honestly, neither can words on a page.
Yes, we celebrated a big birthday for an amazing lady last week. For one day, she was the reason all our loved ones gathered. But for me, she is not just my person one day but maintains that status all throughout the year. And I honestly couldn’t be happier or more thankful to get to celebrate her comfort, friendship and love daily.
Happy 60th birthday, Mama!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.