When family works together, good things can happen. With Covid, many of us have been distant from those close to our hearts. Grandparents haven’t been able to see their grandchildren, parents haven’t been able to get together with their children, and so on. As more people get vaccinated, they are starting to get together reuniting the special bond of family. My family got together Saturday, April 10, to do something special for my parents.
My younger sister, brother, older sister, and I have been planning a surprise fiftieth anniversary party for my parents through text messages and phone calls. My younger sister, Chris, and family live in North Carolina and my brother, Scott, and family live in Tennessee. My older sister, Shelley, and I live about 45 minutes apart. So, planning a surprise party hasn’t been easy.
My parent’s actual anniversary was January 31. My parents married on my dad’s birthday so he would never forget the day they married. In January everything was still pretty closed down with Covid. Cases were climbing and we were waiting for the vaccine. Plus, my nieces and nephews were busy with school. So, we pushed the party to April with the hopes that things would be better. It was also when my nieces and nephews would be on break.
Shelley and I had a small party on my dad’s birthday for them. We came up with the excuse that because of Covid we were unable to do any more.
Mom smiled. “This is fine. We don’t need any more than this.”
In the meantime, my mom got back in contact with her sister. I met my aunt MaryAnn when I was young, but I don’t remember. I began messaging her and then texting her. I thought what a wonderful time to reunite my mom and her sister than at a party. I told Aunt MaryAnn our plans. She told my mother she would be coming from Texas to visit her and go to Niagara Falls. MaryAnn would bring her husband, daughter, and her daughter’s husband. It became my aunt’s responsibility to get my parents to the restaurant for the party.
My mom kept telling me, “Why is she coming in April when it’s still chilly out? I wish Chris and Scott could be in town to meet them. I’ll have to talk to Shelley and see if she can come and meet her.”
Little did my parents know all their children were going to be in town. I’m not good at keeping secrets, so I had to bite my tongue. I also had to let Shelley know Mom would be calling her trying to get her to come over.
Plans were worked out. I booked the restaurant for the party, Chris had invitations made, I bought plates and napkins for the cake, Scott sent money for me to get a cake and we all decided on a menu. Aunt MaryAnn would tell them they were all meeting my husband and me at the restaurant the day of the party. Chris and family would stay at her husband’s uncle’s home, and my brother booked a hotel in a nearby town.
The week of the party came, and we were ready. Scott and his family arrived at their hotel Thursday night, and Chris and her family arrived at her husband’s Uncle’s home the same day. Then my aunt texted me that their vehicle broke down in Tennessee. They weren’t sure they would make it to the party, but they would try.
The night before the party all of us siblings and families got together except my older sister. Being farmer’s, Shelley and her hubby couldn’t get away from milking the cows. We talked about the party and then shopped for decorations.
My aunt and family rented a car Friday morning and made it to my parents at 1:00 am. Saturday came, and I was on edge. My anxiety was high, and I felt sick. Would everything work out.
We met at the restaurant at 12:30 to decorate. The guests started arriving at 1:00. Around 1:25 I waited in front of the restaurant for my aunt, her family, and my parents. At 1:30 they arrived. I led them into the dining hall of the restaurant.
Everyone stood and shouted, “Surprise!”
Tears filled my parents’ eyes. We celebrated as a family fifty years of love: a special love that poured out to their children, grandchildren, and everyone they know. A love that has weathered many challenges and yet stood strong and unbending. Covid couldn’t stop us from celebrating such a beautiful occasion. Nothing could stop us from giving our parents the party they deserved.
With Covid families have been split apart and isolated from one another. Depression and anxiety have been high. People who have never had mental illness are getting depressed because they miss their families. Now that the vaccine is being administered and cases are going down, it’s time to start reuniting with our families. It’s time to celebrate the love of those close to our hearts.
My parents’ love has always guided me through the roughest times in my life. I thank them and celebrate their bond. Being with my family holds me up into the light of recovery.