Saturday, August 16, 2014

Birthdays and Hard Decisions

It's always amusing when my dreams have my normally-intelligent sister making a glaring error.  Last night I dreamed that for reasons unknown to me, I had to translate the phrase "waiting room" into Spanish.  I was convinced that it was "el cuarto de descansar."  In daylight, of course, I can see that it is obviously not right.  Perhaps more terrible, though, I dreamed that Annetta was trying to persuade me that it was really "el cuarto de descues."  For some absurd reason, she was trying to conjugate "descansar" as "descues."  I woke up very confused.  Note:  She would never do this in real life!

My dad turned 70 on the 4th of July this year.  We had a small celebration for him that morning, but the big event was reserved for the last week of July, when our entire family (parents, 8 children, including 2 pregnant ladies, 5 spouses, and 10 grandchildren) went up to Leavenworth, Washington.  It was absolutely beautiful up there.  I wouldn't mind moving there, if I had a source of income not tied to a specific location.  Time for a best-selling novel!

Unfortunately Matthew and I were only able to stay for two nights, since the dates were not settled until after he had already planned his vacation time.  Once vacation is scheduled with UPS, there's no going back.  Still, we had a blast hanging out with the family and going to Lake Wenatchee.

Tuesday this week, while meeting with my writers group, I received a text from my sister asking if I would be attending the church feast for my dad's 70th birthday, set for Friday.  I had no previous knowledge of this event, but said I would like to go.  About a minute later I got a text from another sister, saying she had written a family song and we were all expected Wednesday evening to practice.  I scrambled to find babysitting for those two evenings, which was graciously provided by Savanna on Wednesday and Paul and Carol on Friday.

So Wednesday I went out to my sister's cabin and had dinner with my family, then we set to work learning the song.  We tweaked a few lines to sound better.  I was getting ready to head home again when my sister suddenly said, "I'm not sure if you'll be allowed to sing."  This was not entirely unexpected, due to reasons I won't go into here, but extremely disappointing.  My sister texted the person in charge and the answer came back:  I would be permitted to attend, but not to sing.  She was extremely apologetic, and said it had never crossed her mind to think of it before then.

Well, I put on my brave face and went home, but it rankled.  Carol listened for the sleeping children so Savanna could come with me to pick up Matt from work, and I vented to her the whole way there.  She was very upset and offended on my behalf.  Matthew was also not pleased.

I thought and thought about it all day Thursday, then Friday morning I sent an e-mail to my sister and listed why I thought that decision was not right.  She forwarded my e-mail to the person in charge, who once again replied that I could attend, but not sing.  I very nearly chose not to go at all.  Indeed, up until the moment I got in the van to go there, I considered just calling Savanna and Jenaia and having a girls' night instead.

But I went.  I fully intended to come home and write a sorrowful piece about how terrible it was to be among people who really didn't want me there, and how noble I was for squashing my pride and going for the sake of my dad.  That's what I planned to write, but I can't, because--

I had a marvelous time.  The dinner started at 6:00.  I got there ten minutes late, and before I could even get through the doors several people had greeted me.  My family was seated at two tables near the front, and I went and sat with them.  I had a blast chatting with Dorcas, Annetta, Heather, and Justin, who were seated around me.  During the fifteen minute break at 7:00 more people found me and said hello.  I found myself quite happy to see these people that I hadn't seen in quite a while and talk to them.

I also made a break for the van at 7:00 to get my Benadryl.  I've had to take it nearly every day this summer, but I forgot to before the feast.  I did not want to go into a sneezing fit in the middle of things!  I drank three cups of coffee during the time afterward to counter the sleepy effects.

After the break several people spoke and said wonderful things about my dad, interspersed with awesome songs written especially for the occasion.  There was a slide show which included pictures I'd never seen before, and a video as well.  Everything was extremely well-done.  The tech crew kept everything running smoothly, although so many people wanted to speak that the feast ran way over the time set.  It was supposed to end shortly before 10:00; it went on until 11:00.

And then there were more people to see and greet.  I was asked by one person why I hadn't gotten up and shared anything about my dad, and I replied that I had been asked not to.  I wondered how many people thought I just didn't care enough to get up.  No matter--when surrounded by such wonderful, caring, loving people it's impossible to be angry.  I simply can't manage it.

So, although I was disappointed in one respect, I was wonderfully blessed in all other ways to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people.  It was incredible to see them, and I miss them already.

I got home exactly at midnight and thought, "It's pumpkin time!" which reminded me of my brother and sister-in-law and made me smile.  My husband sat up at the table waiting for me, which made me happy.  I am blessed.

P.S.  I also found out that one of my childhood friends and two siblings cried so much upon being told there was no time to visit us, that their dad turned the car around and brought them over anyway.  I had no idea we were so popular!