FINALLY!! I can blog about this! You have no idea how hard it’s been not saying anything about this.
Back in December, Sarah had a great idea of inviting my parents and all my brothers and sisters to Roanoke for a family reunion for my parent’s 40th anniversary. We then decided that it should be a surprise for Mom and Dad, not telling them about my sisters coming (my brothers would already be in Roanoke). This was the first time since 1999 that all of Mom & Dad’s living children were together, and definitely the first time for most of the grandkids. At first, Sharon (my younger sister) didn’t think she was able to make it, but after much persuading was able to come with her little boy, Josh. THEN, Michelle thought they might not make it because one of her girls broke her hand. We convinced Mom & Dad to come out for a visit, but had to let Dad in on the secret of Michelle (my oldest sister) coming to get him to agree to the dates.
Many e-mails flew back and forth, and it seemed like Sarah was on the phone with Michelle quite a lot, getting all the details worked out. They did an excellent job of planning the meals and different activities that we could do on a couple of the days.
Finally, the day came. Michelle and Sharon flew in, rented a car and drove to our house where they would be staying, along with Mark and his family (Needless to say, we have had a houseful!) Then we all went to the airport to meet Mom & Dad when their flight arrived. It was rather funny because with each plane that flew overhead as we were driving, we kept saying “I hope that’s not them!!” It would have been so terrible to have gone through all this planning only to have them get to the airport before we did! Thankfully, that didn’t happen. We all lined up with our “Welcome Papa and Nanny” signs and waited for Mom and Dad. It was so cool to see Mom’s face when she saw everyone, especially Sharon and Michelle.
But that was only half of their surprise. We all went to the Szechuan Restaurant on Friday evening for a special dinner. Afterward, we shared our special memories of Mom & Dad. It is a great testimony to them that most of the memories shared centered around the fact of how every one of us knew that Mom & Dad loved each other – from Dad’s “HUG ATTACK!!” to the fact that they never fought or yelled in front of us. Then came the gifts. Michelle had been working feverishly (and that’s an understatement!) on a special quilt for Mom that had their name in the center patch as well as their wedding date. Then around that were patches with each of their children’s and grandchildren’s name (blue patches for boys, pink for girls.) The look on Mom’s face when she realized what the quilt had on it was priceless. She spent some time looking at each one and then gave Michelle a great big hug. Dad opened his last and his reaction was one of shock – not just surprise, but full blown shock. With Mom’s help (Mom thought it was for Father’s Day), Michelle had gotten Dad’s dog tags (“Saved Baptist, B positive!”) and managed to find every medal or commendation that Dad had received during his 12 years in the USAF. All this along with his uniform name tag, a picture of a VERY young Pops, and an American flag was placed in a beautiful display case. When Dad opened his gift, all he could say was, “I’ve been waiting for this for 30 years!” Although Dad has been out of the military for a long time (even before I came around), he is still very much into the military. So this was perhaps the best thing we could have gotten for him.
We’ve had some other activities over the weekend and some more to come, but I wanted to blog about Mom & Dad’s surprise simply because I could now!! I’ll put some pictures up later on. To Mom & Dad – WE LOVE YOU!!
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