This past Thursday we celebrated my Grandma Smullin's 90th birthday with a surprise party. More than 70 people - including all of her children and grandchildren, her favorite nephew from San Antonio and his new wife, her next door neighbors from 1960, and her best friend of nearly 70 years from Rhode Island - showed up for the celebration. It was wonderful. And a COMPLETE surprise to my grandmother!
Grandma thought she was attending an anniversary party for friends of my parents. When she arrived at the banquet hall, she was greeted and escorted into the party - then there was the big "SURPRISE". I don't think the idea of a surprise party registered in her mind for a few minutes. She was standing there trying to figure out how her neighbors from 40 years ago and her son and grandchildren from Texas would know the hosts of the party (she thought she was attending). When she finally figured out that it was HER party many hugs were given and a few tears were shed.
I didn't have much to do with planning the party itself. Instead I was responsible for the gift. We decided as a family that the party theme should be "we are your life story" since everyone at the party had impacted and been apart of my Grandmother's life. As I gift, we decided to put together a memory book - full of notes of remembrance, pictures, and stories. I had the honor of putting the book together and then presenting it to my grandmother at the party. The book ended up being 92 pages long and is full of pictures from 1917-2007. Since we couldn't pass the book around to all of the guests, I used powerpoint to show about 15 pages from the book.
Putting the book together and then presenting it to my grandma was a wonderful experience for me. It was fun reading stories about my grandmother from years ago and seeing pictures of her as a newlywed and new mom. I also got to see a picture of her holding me (the oldest of her six grandchildren) for the first time when I arrived home from the hospital on Christmas Day 1977. It was also wonderful to read and see how she has been such a good friend and role model to so many people throughout the years. I am so proud that she is my grandma!
You can view her memory book here.