[February 15, 2023 @ 5:16 PM]
Do you know the dimensions of a small, intimate yet luxurious dining room inspired by 1920’s Chicago in an upscale steakhouse? Well... unfortunately I don't know either, but I can tell you that there’s just enough space for 15 warm, familiar faces. Just enough space for an assortment of drinks, appetizers and entrees to fill our bellies. Just enough space for golden balloons to float above our heads and graze the ceiling. Just enough space for echoes of laughter to bounce off of one wall and land onto the next. But most of all, there's just enough space for love to completely overwhelm the room, making its presence undeniable and holding everyone with the fullness and comfort of a long awaited embrace.
On January 15, my mother celebrated her 60th birthday and with a hint of nervousness in his voice, my dad confirmed with me over the phone the plan for the surprise we had been keeping under wraps for the past few weeks. It was simple, tell my mom to get dressed up and get her to the restaurant we were all waiting to surprise her at. Once she arrived she would walk into the aforementioned dining room and be greeted by the excited sounds and faces of her family and closest friends.
To some, a fancy surprise dinner, party or gathering of some sort may seem like a no-brainer for such a momentous occasion as turning 60 years old. However, my mother tells a different story. She’s hardly the party type, loathes being the center of attention and ironically was “upset” with me for not disclosing the fact that she was being surprised.
I should let you know that this is less about the way we pulled off a surprise for my mom’s birthday and more about the big love that filled a small room on a cold Sunday in January. A love that is a testament to the very essence of my mother and the soft heart that God crafted her with. A love that exemplified the importance of the popular sentiment: give people their flowers while they can still smell them.
In spite of her dislike for being the center of attention, love made room for my mom to bask in her moment– to have her cup overflow with the intentional care and affection that she so graciously gives to everyone else. Love let my mom be carefully held in the palms of everyone’s hands while we marveled at her like an inimitable diamond unearthed from lush soil.
My mother is a giver if I’ve ever seen one, and if you know her in any capacity then you know that it’s in her nature to put others' needs before her own– serving those in need is merely a reflex in her daily life. Her innate selflessness stretches beyond the walls of our family home and into the hearts and lives of her friends, co-workers, community and every child that she has encountered at the elementary school she’s worked at for over 25 years.
That night love made room for us to give to the giver. And we had a lot to give.
With admiration in our hearts and tenderness in our eyes, everyone in that small room showered my mother with beautiful compliments and enthusiastic praise-- truly holding her in high regard. It was like sweet music to my ears as every word spoken out loud began to weave together the lyrics to the most uplifting soundtrack about love on my mother's behalf.
That night tears of joy and gratitude streamed down my mom's face at every moment because love made room for her from the second she walked in to the end of the night as we clinked our champagne glasses against one another in a well-deserved toast to her.
Even if I had an endless word count, I still wouldn't be able to fully encapsulate the love that I felt flow through that room, but I'm grateful to have been fully present in it.
To my mother, in your 60th year of life: I hope that you continue to walk where love leads you and pursue joy wholeheartedly. I hope that you let moments where others give to you find you more often. I hope that your prayers are bigger and your faith is stronger. I hope that you confidently venture out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Most of all, I hope that you stand in the steadfast love of God and know that you are not only His cherished child, but a cherished wife, mother, daughter and friend on earth.
And I hope that this serves a reminder to you, whose reading this, to always make room for love.
Thank you for reading, and as usual... be great! xoxo