Hello From Florida!
It's all over, the party thing, and I've had a great visit with all my family. The dvd went over well, I didn't flub up the toast, and I was even stunned to find out that I was seated at the head table, with my Dad and his wife, and his brother and his wife. What an honor that was for me!
Dad was aghast when he opened the door to the room, and we all shouted "SURPRISE!" at him. We were a little worried when he then didn't continue to walk into the room, but cornered his wife behind the door. It looked like he was going to kill her. She later told me that he was reminding her that they had made a promise to each other to never throw a party like this for each other, and she broke that promise.
Dad kicked into politician mode and began working his way around the room, thanking everyone for coming. He saw my sister Leslie first (who lives in the area), then my deaf sister Lisa (and I could tell he was visibly shook up that she was there), and then, about 15 other guests later he found me, against the back wall of the room, waiting in line to shake his hand and hug him. When I held him close, I said into his ear "Happy Birthday, Dad!" and he choked out "Oh, Jimmy! Holy cow!"
My mom pointed out that seeing me was what made him cry. I've got to tell you, he wasn't the only guy crying in that hug.
The love that was pouring out of the guests towards him was just simply amazing. He is loved by SO many people, not just family. The real estate office where he works all showed up. Many fellow members of his church were there. I heard story after story from people I've never met before about how important Dad is to them. They kissed on him, they shook his hand, they rubbed his back.
My favorite moment was when he went to cut the birthday cake. The DJ had a piped in version of "Happy Birthday" playing, and we all sang along. Dad conducted us, using the cake knife as his baton. When the part of the song came when we sang his name, he turned the cake knife at himself, pointing out that he, indeed, was the birthday boy, and that the name we sang was his.
He was grinning from ear to ear.
The dvd played in a corner of the room with the sound turned off. No big deal. The DJ was blaring music from his perch and it would have conflicted. Throughout the night, there was always a little group of people huddled around the monitor watching it. I received many compliments about it.
I hugged and kissed on my mother and I bought Rebecca's boyfriend/common law husband a drink at the bar. I got a chance to remind him that he is family still, that he is my brother always, and that I love him.
I tried to figure out how to have sex with the DJ. Really cute guy. He never left to use the men's room ONCE all night. Seriously!
Well, it's Monday night, and I fly back to Texas tomorrow morning. I'm glad this is over; I need to get my head back in my job - and it hasn't been there since the middle of December. But I think this was a nice little opportunity for the family to heal a bit after the death of my sister.
Thanks for putting up with my fretting and worrying about all of this. That's how I roll: I worry.