In my last post about our family reunion, I mentioned that we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday one night. In addition to our adults-only dinner, we gave her a special gift that I’d been working on for weeks.
About a year ago, I ran across this post from Nothing But Bonfires, where she and her siblings put together 60 Years of Memories for their dad’s 60th birthday. They contacted everyone they could think of — family and friends from past and present, and had them all write letters to their dad, sharing their favorite memory of him.
I pinned the idea back when she blogged about it, and then a few months ago, I realized my mom’s 50th birthday was this year. This was perfect. I immediately contacted my dad and my siblings, asking for their help, and then we slowly began compiling a list of people and their email addresses or phone numbers.
About a month before the reunion, I sent out an email to everyone on the list asking them to send a letter with their favorite memory of my mom. My email was similar to Holly’s, which you can see here. It took a few follow up emails and a few facebook messages to find correct email addresses, and several times I was sure we wouldn’t make it, but about three days before the reunion, we had finally received all fifty letters! Whew.
I divided the letters into two stacks, packaged them in pretty square stationary, and tied them up with some striped yarn. I then wrapped them in a box with another card that said “start here” and gave an explanation of the gift.
After we got home from dinner, we all sat around in the living room and presented the gift to my mom. Since her birthday was not for another three weeks, she was completely surprised.
Then we all went around in a circle and took turns reading the letters aloud to her. Some were long, some were short, some were sweet and touching, others were hilarious. It took us about an hour to read all fifty, and it seemed to be the perfect amount.
It ended up being the perfect way to celebrate fifty years of the most amazing mother and woman, especially because the entire family was there to celebrate together.
Happy 50 years, Mom! We love you!