By Carol Ann Gleason
My December birthday is at the height of a busy season. Therefore, it is not unusual that it seems like my birthday recognitions are squeezed into the busyness of the season. Many years ago my oldest daughter began a tradition of celebrating my birthday with a brunch from 10 a.m. to noon each Dec. 24. It truly was a much-appreciated, sacrificial gift that she gave to me.
This year my husband broke tradition for my milestone. He arranged for the most important people in my life to take an evening off from their usual routines to spend time with me. It was an unforgettable evening. Gathering these precious people into one place at one time is no easy feat at any time of the year. But, at the busiest time of the year it is nothing short of a miracle. Doing this without my knowledge was miraculous.
My husband told me that he wanted to take me to dinner for my birthday. When I entered the dining room at Russell’s Steakhouse, I saw my family sitting at large, round dining table in the middle of the dining room. Their joy-filled eyes were focused on me as they eagerly awaited celebrating my birthday. It was a surprise party and I didn’t know anything about it.
I sat at the table and looked around at the most beautiful sight. I looked at my husband and could imagine how he calculated the evening. My husband does not do things flippantly. He had spent lots of time thinking about this evening.
It was his gift to me and I so appreciated not only the gift of the evening, but the gift of his time and desire planning the event. I saw this man whom I’ve grown up with as the man he is: deeply caring to bring joy to others. He took us all out-of-the-ballpark with this dinner date to celebrate my turning “39 and holding.” My almost 10-year-old granddaughter said, “I think I know what that means.”
A precious family memory board was presented to me by my oldest granddaughter. She was sure to include pictures of all family members on it. My grandchildren were delightful at the formal setting of Russell’s dining room. They loved the aquarium.
The atmosphere and food was beautiful and delicious. Russ presented the birthday cake and sang “Happy Birthday” along with my family. True to his word, we were the guests and he did the rest, he even cut and served the cake. Seeing such an active and successful octogenarian did wonders for this aging baby boomer.
Driving home, I was in an afterglow of gratitude. When we arrived home I opened my mail and had lovely cards from a dearly loved friend and my brother. I reflected on the wonderful occurrences in the past year. This evening was at the very top.
I had experienced many wonderful things throughout the year. The places I visited in 2018 were fun. The everyday routine of life was more than satisfactory, but seeing my family gathered together on this special occasion was like being on a mountaintop and seeing the beautiful valley below.
The following day continued as an afterglow of appreciation. Don and I talked about the evening as we looked at the pictures that were taken. As I looked at my husband I saw a man filled with the joy of giving a gift that was so appreciated. My heart began overflowing again.
Carol Ann Gleason, of Kenmore, is “39 and holding.”