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Happy Almost Birthday Mom!

On Thursday, Thanksgiving, my daughter, my son, my sister and brother-in-law and their daughter, my brother and sister-in-law, cooked all day. Then we ate. The 9-year old led us all in a round of Gangnam Style rug-cutting.

The next morning, we got up and drove en mass to Santa Barbara for my mother’s 80th birthday party. And family reunion. Of 40-ish people. A warmer, more affectionate, more truly interested-in-what-each-other-had-to-say group would be hard to imagine.

The first wave met at a pizza parlor Friday night.The traditional red and white tablecloth came with succulent centerpieces. It’s Santa Barbara.

Saturday we had lunch at my mother’s. We parked in the cul-de-sac.

One of my Artsy Cousins, of the Crafty variant, got carried away with bunting, to our great delight. She made the Happy Birthday above too.

A niece and I picked flowers from mom’s yard and stuck them into water glasses. We used a Bird of Paradise, because that’s what grows in Santa Barbara yards.

We set the tables with navy blue tablecloths and kelly green napkins because, well you know why. Then, wholly unknowing, one of my sisters turned up in shades of blue and green, the other in a bright kelly tee. I don’t invent all this. I changed into a blue and white striped shirt of my mother’s because a) it was sunny and close to 80 degrees b) solidarity.

In fact the sun was so bright it turned kelly green to white in this photo. I’m sure there’s a larger transformative inference to be drawn, but you don’t need my help.

Lunch was served from a taco truck, which, an odd twist of fate, turned out to offer Tiki Tacos. Hawaiian food, if you will, accompanied by Bob Marley reggae. . The company set out a palm frond umbrella on my mother’s Southern California Spanish-ish driveway. I could make a cultural statement here, but, again, how about not? How about it was just a family eating some food on a warm day in the sunshine?

I’m reluctant to analyze the heartfelt which is not mine alone.

We had dinner at the club where Mom plays bridge. The chef used one of her recipes – Chicken Paprika. Nice china. I have a secret penchant for highly ornate tables. Maybe we all do. The austere takes you only so far.

We all toasted Mom, which my brother videotaped so she can play them over to her heart’s content. I toasted her family, who came over to America in the 1600s, and worked hard at preaching and governing and building a factory. And Mom, who worked hard at being a good mom. And did a damn good job.

High WASPs use the word damn to indicate great emotion.

Those of you who read regularly might have noticed I was absent Saturday morning. Consider this that missing post. Mom’s 80th Birthday, Or, Saturday Morning Forever and Ever. To all the Cousins, Artsy, Teaching, Scientific, Religious, Professorial, Managerial,  Mothers, and Other, thank you so, so very much. We had a wonderful time.

34 Responses

  1. Such a splendid tale and a glorious time to be savored! I can’t imagine a more lovely 80th birthday present. Cheers to you and your kin for pulling this together and hope all 80 of your mother’s birthday wishes come true!

  2. Happy birthday to your mom and may she have many, many more. Fabulous way to celebrate. How fun that the chef used one of her recipes for dinner and served it on good bone china too. He appreciates the finer things in life.

  3. LOVE -just love- Kelly green and navy!! As much as Shiapparelli pink and Kelly… Navy and Kelly is a bit more “Church..” lol

    Loved the parties and the settings. Now for the kill: How about sharing Mom’s Chicken Paprika?
    And belated HB to Mom who dod a damn good job!! :-)


  4. Happy 80th birthday to your mom. It looks like everyone had a great time. I’m wondering if our mothers play bridge at the same club? It sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, in every way.

  5. This is the best excuse for a missing saturday posting :-)
    You get showered with sunlight end November, that’s impressive! Ok, I guess that’s California ;-)

  6. We’ll be gathering in Boston in January to celebrate my mother’s 90th. I’m jelly (as the kids say) of your sunny outdoor gathering. Boston will be damned cold, but our hearts will be damned warm! Even factoring in our WASP froideur.

  7. Your family gathering sounds like fun. Your mother must be the adventurous type to invite a Taco truck to do the catering! Considering her age she’s obviously very young at heart.
    Happy Birthday to your Mom.

  8. Delightful family pictures,your mother must have felt so loved on her special day….her house is delightful and the weather I am so envious.

    Wishing your mother a belated Happy Birthday. Ida

  9. Happy Birthday to your mother! Sounds like a wonderful celebration filled with love and laughter and siblings who genuinely like each other — every mother’s dream.

  10. Heartfelt, close, celebratory and personal- a beacon to all of us who might reach 80, and may we do so basking in such love. Happy Birthday, Lisa’s Mum!

  11. Happy birthday to your mother! She is a lucky woman (and a good mom) to have such a lovely family. (And I love the navy and Kelly green too. It looks great in the sunlight.)

    1. And you do know, I hope, that it was supposed to be “your Mom”. Although if she’s thinking about adopting another daughter I’d be happy to put myself in line.

  12. Hello Lisa, A happy milestone birthday to your mother; I’m sure she appreciated how you all made it literally a ‘banner’ occasion. Somehow those preppy colors seem transformed by the California sun and exotic locale.

  13. That was a busy weekend.

    We recently celebrated my Mom’s 80th. Actually we’ve been celebrating all year. I hope she’s been living it up all around.

  14. What a wonderful celebration weekend you all enjoyed! Thank you for sharing the yummy details and photos with us. Happy Birthday to your beautiful Mom!

  15. How wonderful! Happy birthday to your Mom! I live in Santa Barbara and love it here. Is that Giovanni’s pizza by any chance?

  16. Thank you for sharing the festivities with us. It looks like the celebrations were both fun and lovely. I want to offer wonderful birthday wishes for your mother. She is fortunate to have you as her daughter.

    My mother’s 90th birthday is coming up in the early spring and we are in the planning stages for a party at our farmhouse.

  17. Happy birthday to your wonderful mom. Must have been the weekend for celebrations such as these. So nice of the kids to fly in for the festivities too.

  18. Oh what a wonderful celebratory weekend – fantastic. And many congratulations to your Mother. Memories are made of times like these…x

  19. Ah to be in SB right about now. Happy birthday to your mom and many more.

    “High WASPs use the word damn to indicate great emotion.” Thanks for the chuckle.

    40+ with an interest in one another – that may present a throw down to the birthday girl as a major accomplishment.

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