By Judy Reiss
I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to share with you the wonderful party my children hosted for us for our 50th wedding Anniversary And so of course, I decided yes!
Well, it started for me when I called my son, Tobi, to tell him I was going to get a knee replacement sometime in early November, I hoped. And instead of being supportive, he sort of got mad! And then he told me that I had “spoiled” the surprise. And then he told me that he had planned a small family party for November 7th and that I had to make sure that my surgery didn’t interfere and now it wasn’t a surprise any more! Of course, I was surprised anyway and I promised to make sure that my surgery didn’t interfere and that I would pretend to be surprised!
Well, I was able to schedule my surgery for November 10 and I was sure that when the 7th came I would behave and show my surprise to everyone. I am a good Mother right? So Malcolm and I and two of our friends, Cloe and Clint, drove together to Hanover Center and as I got out of the car I made sure that I would appropriately be shocked. Camden, my 12-year-old grandson came out and helped me up the steps to their porch and sort of danced around me, which I assumed was to be able to help me be surprised! And I have to tell you, it worked!
We walked in the door, I took my jacket off and there was a large cluster of people sort of around me and all of a sudden I looked up and right in front of me was a lovely, tall young Chinese girl. And for a millisecond I didn’t know who it was. And then it hit me, it was my wonderful granddaughter, Katie Mei. But, but, but she lives in Vail, Colorado! And then I saw right in back of her was Adrienne, my daughter, and her husband, Mike. And I swear to you, I actually almost fainted! And to make it even more special, Camden took a video the whole time. I must tell you that only once before in my 76 years has anyone ever surprised me like that! And to be sure they could surprise me with their visit, Adrienne continued to call me on Thursday and Friday as she “drove home from work” where she works in the operating room at Vail hospital. Not only was I surprised, I had absolutely no idea that they could even consider coming. And that folks, was just the beginning.
Tobi, Polly, Sarah, Heidi, Rene and evidently Adrienne had planned this party for several months. And every single friend and family member had been invited to come and only with a few exceptions, they were all there. And just as I got my breath back and attempted to act like a grown-up, my brother-in-law and sister -in-law arrived and as I looked up, there was Hayden and her wonderful husband with their 2-month-old son in tow. I want you to know that I had just texted Hayden a day or so ago apologizing that I probably wouldn’t be able to see the baby until spring or whenever he starts to walk. And here he was. Well, Rhythm, Hayden’s husband, picked that adorable boy up out of his car seat and dropped him in my lap saying, “here, I think this is for you.” And I have to tell you that baby went from hand to hand all night long and did nothing but smile!
Of course, Mihir wasn’t the only little person there. Dr. Kelvey and Ken/Wilson brought their three children and Lydia and Logan the “BIG” siblings had a great time with the younger Reiss boys and Katie Mei, while Clara, who is just starting to walk, had a grand time climbing up and down the stairs! What fun and how lucky she was to have been given such a great toy!
Needless to say, our party was made whole when McKinley drove up from school at Mass Maritime. I was thrilled to see that Aunt Sarah took lots of pictures of him not just holding baby Mihir but singing, dancing and whispering to him for much longer than you would think.
The food was also incredible! Tobi and Heidi had arranged for most of the food and Sarah made her famous artichoke dip which is always a tremendous hit.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my step-grandson Charlie and his terrific girlfriend Christy came and were just lovely. Plus my step-granddaughter Ellie and Katie Mei had a little time to reconnect after not seeing each other for 2 years. And at their ages, 12 and 13, it is really a long, long time. Nick, is my youngest grandson and at 9, was a little late because he had been playing in a soccer tournament. But he joined right in with the other “youngies” and they all had a great time.
Tobi made a wonderful toast, which included the thought about how wonderful it is that all four of my children are happy, healthy, have jobs and are all married. And he said that it was because Malcolm and I are still together after 50 years and gave them a great growing up experience. I don’t know about anyone else, but there wasn’t a dry eye on my face. And although her experience was different, Adrienne also gave a heart-warming toast and thanked Malcolm and me plus her brother and sisters for making her life as wonderful as it is. Am I lucky or what?
So, after 50 years, our children were able to not just surprise me beyond all belief, they gave us the best party imaginable. And now it has been four days since our party, I have thought about it a lot. Fifty years is a long time to be together, but if you ask anyone you know who has reached that milestone, they all will tell you the same thing, I’m sure. There are good times and there are bad times but you just have to take one day at a time and realize that fortunately, the good times outweigh the bad by a huge margin. And if you have children and you let them know how much you love them, that 50 years will fly by. And what about grandchildren? They are the icing on the cake! Just put one foot in front of the other and make an attempt to just enjoy the journey because after all, it is your choice.