Shhh, It’s A Surprise!

My mother retired at the end of 2014. She told all five of her children that her employer would be having cake, punch and coffee as a farewell. The bank from which she retired also informed all of their regular customers of her last day and this cake reception. They had informed everyone to stop by between 10 am and 3 pm to wish her a happy retirement. She relayed this information to us, the kids, with an obvious nudge to please stop by to see her. This is the part that involved some difficulty. Only two of us children were able to make because it was in the middle of the day, very much out of the way from my siblings’ places of employment. Anticipating my siblings’ disappointment at not being able to properly congratulate our mom on her retirement, I contacted them all to plan a surprise retirement party. We are nearing the final hours until she gets the surprise of her life!

I know, that last sentence implies I have high expectations, and, well…I suppose I do. I have spoken to her repeatedly for the last three weeks as we planned and invited her co-workers, friends and family. I even borrowed her iron to assist me with decoration purposes (I know that doesn’t make sense, but trust me, it is okay and I am not decorating with irons) without her batting an eye. She hasn’t mentioned one thing to me to make suspect she knows something. We have taken great care to keep the party quiet, even withholding the secret from dear old dad (he thinks he is subtle and can keep a secret, but that is not the case, and we love him anyway I might add). I have even invited her best friend that lives three hours away and consulted with her repeatedly on the details. I’m proud of myself and my siblings for coming together to make a special night for mom. She deserves it, for sure, and what makes it better is the knowledge that she will be pleased we went to such secretive efforts for her. She wouldn’t even care if we didn’t have a single present or decoration or scrap of food available; she would just be touched that we recognized that retirement was an important milestone for her.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always greatly enjoyed sewing. She made many dresses for me as a child, and given my lack of height she has hemmed more pairs of pants for me than I can possibly remember. For as long as I can remember, she has also wanted a serger (my simplistic mind thinks of it as type of sewing machine that puts a finished edge on material) to help her in her sewing efforts. Tomorrow evening, we will be handing her a gift card with enough to get a very nice serger. I cannot wait!

All she has been able to talk about as she nears retirement is how much she wants to sew. She even spent all of today cleaning up her sewing room so everything is in order for her to begin some new projects. I feel like we couldn’t have anticipated her wants any better! I am decorating using fabric scraps so she has something to start sewing right away. My wonderful husband has even helped me create flowers out of fabric scraps using nothing but straight pens and green masking tape (we are not very crafty people here, so this is huge for both of us). I even managed to find some painted bottles (second hand which equals cheap and labor free) to use as vases. I’m hoping she loves it all, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that no one ruins it for her. I leave you with a bit of the decor that we struggled to painstakingly to create.

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