Yesterday was a very special day for our family – we got to celebrate the adoption finalization of my brother’s two children and my dad’s 75th birthday (still convinced I was a mistake).
Though he’s got a knack for being the center of attention, my dad absolutely hates surprises. But for a birthday as big as three quarters, we had to celebrate in style! My mom and I have been planning a surprise for months – one where we gather just immediate family and the closest of family friends – to celebrate the milestone occasion. The secret was kept until I accidentally blurted it out over the Fourth of July holiday in front of him, quickly covering my tracks when I saw my mom jumping up and down, whaling her arms to get me to stop talking. I recovered from “…dad’s party…” to “…”you know, the one he is throwing for the kids’ adoption!”
To give you some background here, my brother and sister-in-law, after trying for several years to have children of their own, recognized their calling to become foster parents with the goal of eventually adopting. Early last year, they received word that their family would soon grow and in the summer, we welcomed two beautiful children into our family. While a joyous year, the months have been filled with ups and downs for the new parents. But, the moment we have been waiting for for what seems like an eternity, finally came and now the kiddos officially share our name and have to put up with us for good!
So back to yesterday. We were doing great – were able to keep my dad occupied outside while decorations chronologizing his life were set up. The guy had no idea; or so we thought. We get inside, tell him “You think everyone is here today to celebrate the children but actually, we’re here to celebrate YOU! Surprise!” Just then, he hands my mom a folded up piece of paper: “Hey Carol, thanks for the surprise party” (only he types in ALL CAPS, ALWAYS). He had known for the ENTIRE week! When asked how, he quietly points to me. Before my mom could say anything to me, he jumped in with “she could have played it off if I didn’t feel the wind of you jumping around and waving your arms behind me to get her to stop talking!” Team effort, momma!
Here’s a peek into the elements that made this celebration one to remember (unless you’re 75, then you have an excuse not to remember.
There he is, with proof that nothing slips by this old guy!
My dad grew up in Minnesota, lived in California (among other places), settled down in New York, retired in Virginia and sends his heart to Columbia, SC each Saturday during football season. That being said, he’s got friends in low, and high, and medium places. My brother and I reached out to friends and family across the country – those he knows now and those that he hasn’t seen in years – and asked them to send in a happy birthday video message for the special day. The end result? An amazing video compilation of so many that were a part of his life on this 75-year journey.
We adorned the windows and fireplace with pictures of his past and even put together a video montage to capture his first year as “Grandpy.” Note: The video pic is intentionally cut off; we don’t share pictures of the kids for their safety.
We lined the table with newspaper clippings touting some of my dad’s lifetime accomplishments.
Inspired by Pinterest, I created this chalkboard to highlight the differences between today and the day he was born, 75 years ago. A lot has happened during the 27,375 days he’s been around but what will never change is how much we love that man.
I’m sure one of things that makes him more proud than anything is the ability to pass his family name down to these two amazing kids.
I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am to have this man in my life. I thank my lucky stars every night that I have had him by my side during my 29 years on this earth and recognize how fortunate I am that I can say that. I’ll never stop learning and laughing around him, and being the best woman I can be because of him. I love you, Keithypoo! Happy 75th!
P.S. because fashion is one of the primary purposes of this blog: I have been dying to wear this Taylor dress for weeks. Retailing at $158, I picked up this gem at Ross for just $29.99! Clearly, I did not get my fashion sense from my father;)