Our family trip began around the idea of a surprise 60th anniversary party for Brandon’s grandparent’s. What an incredible reason to gather! After some health scares and setbacks for grandpa earlier this year we were especially thankful to be able to visit with them and see their home and celebrate their commitment to one another for so many years. We are grateful for that incredible legacy! A surprise party was planned for the day after we arrived, and was very well executed, small and intimate and just the closest of family and friends. The best moment was seeing Gma walk through the door and her eyes widen as she realized over and over all these familiar faces circled before her, before bursting into tears. So worth it all to be a part of that moment. She had apparently been telling Brandon’s mom how much she wished she could see all the great grandkids but probably wouldn’t be traveling much now with grandpa’s health concerns. What a treat to come to her! We hugged and mingled and reconnected with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins, we introduced Gma and Gpa to Philippa, whom they haven’t met yet. We watched second cousins meet and share toys and play. We prayed and had dinner together and cake! Auntie Cerissa had made a special gluten-free cake just for Phoebe, which made her feel so loved. Afterwards I put my arm around Gma and asked her, “So tell me, what is the secret to sixty years of marriage?” She quickly responded, “Not keeping secrets!” And then she passed on a few other gems of advice, reminding me that no one is perfect and that we have to be thankful, forgive, laugh at ourselves, because sixty years is a long time!
As the shadows lengthened, we left the party and took the kids to a nearby little amusement park, just perfect for them. They’ve never experienced anything like that, so they were filled with glee running from ride to ride with their tickets. Philippa was obsessed with the “ore-sees” (horsey’s) on the merry-go-round and probably rode it several times over, eventually realizing the ticket was her way in, and just walking up to the gate with a ticket and waiting there until the attendant saw her. They all loved it and every day after Phoebe and Noah asked me if we could go back.