For 15 years or more now my sisters and sister-in-laws have got together to celebrate Mum’s birthday. We number 8 when all are there and we have had some amazing get togethers. When Mum was younger we would usually go to a restaurant. One year we went for cocktails at a local bar, then different places for entres, mains and dessert. We selected places close together and walked between them, then back to Mums for Coffee. We’re a rowdy gaggle by the end of the night having a lot of fun.
Sometimes we invited old friends as special guests to share the fun and had themes, like an Island night when we wore sunhats and sarongs. Mums very old Samoan friend played the ukelele and we danced island style. Well we tried!
One evening Mum told us to bring gold coins and when we arrived she had cleaned out cupboards and draws. Clothes were hanging all around the curtain tracks and she had boxes of shoes, handbags and trays of trinkets. This time ALL the girls were invited, daughters and grand daughters and her son’s and grandson’s wives also. We numbered around 30 plus. As clothes were bought off the racks Mum would chose someone to model it and would tell us the ‘story’ behind it. “Louie bought me this when Tricia was born”, and then tell us about the night she wore it. Lots of fabulous stuff from the fifties onwards. Then we would bid for it and Mum would decide who could have it and a couple of dollars was thrown into the kitty. The money was used for a pizza delivery. It was a hilarious night of stories and a great way to share them. We all came home with a goodie bag of things we treasured and would love, as well as with the memory of that night. Mum shared the giving of these special things of hers rather than after her passing which made it more special.
This year on her 81st birthday we invited Raewyn from up the road and as we were singing to the old songs with a very old radio she texted her man to get down with some decent sounds. He arrived at the door in his jamas with his DJ speakers, ipod and set up for us. Before we knew it we had a dance party. Even Mum was up on her walker!
We are having random extra ones now as Mum’s less mobile and a few months ago, we all arrived one by one on the pretense that we had been passing and were just dropping something in or picking something up and when we were all there, just ‘decided to stay and get takeaways’. Mum was thrilled and still can’t get over the coincidence!
We got together for a mid winter one just the other night and Duane turned up with a fifties juke box pictured. Yes we are lucky Mums a cool dude and she sets the tone for lots of fun but we have also made this work by making the effort to put life behind us for a night. To share over good wine and food our highs and lows and I know for sure that this will continue. Well after Mum’s passing we will still celebrate her birthday and share some great stories.