Surprise! A 75th birthday celebration

Behind the scenes in Maryland and Virginia, a group of cousins (and their respective parents) were hard at work preparing a celebration in honor of a special woman. Mom, Maw Maw and Aunt Margy are a few of her popular monikers. And as we gathered to celebrate her 75th birthday, we were all reflecting on what she’s meant to us.

Both my grandmothers played a larger-than-life role in my growing-up years. Maw Maw introduced me to baking, helping me patiently press out sugar cookies when I was as young as 2 or 3. One of my earliest memories is of standing in her kitchen with flour covering the counter, my little hands covered in sticky dough. She introduced me to peanut butter cups, Red Hots candy and tomato sandwiches (for breakfast). She helped me learn to try new things, exercise some patience (oh, the never-ending torment) and, best of all, to always try to get along with my sister.

Maw Maw was always patient, never had an agenda; if my sister and I wanted to spend hours playing a single game, she would happily oblige. Her house was always fragrant, like springtime, and I loved hearing stories about my dad running down the narrow hallway growing up. A large coloring book was hidden beneath the couch, and you would never dare utter an “I’m bored” at her Maryland home. There was always something to do, somewhere to go.

It’s funny the random, visceral moments that return to you later in life: the easy way I can recall the fresh, summery smell of the backyard when we would visit in June or July. The sound of crickets chirping as we wandered through the grass, admiring Maw Maw’s frog statue in the yard. Eating Pop-Ice on the back porch and watching “Strawberry Shortcake” on beta tape. Peering down the well near the driveway, and asking Maw Maw for sticks of wintergreen gum.

Even years later, I can remember walking into her cool-tiled kitchen and reaching up for my favorite drinking glass. Sneaking candy from her cabinets. Admiring the trinkets in a nearby hutch, and watching her pull family photos from drawers in the living room.

Everything I remember is through a child’s eyes.

On April 7, we celebrated Maw Maw’s 75th birthday with a surprise party. I’ve never helped orchestrate a surprise party — or any party, really. And it was awesome. Though my hat is off to my organized and awesome cousin, Karen, for doing the lion’s share of the arrangements, the small parts I contributed — like the tulip table decor — were so fun to put together. Save friends’ wedding and baby showers, I’ve never had a hand in planning an event — and I felt like I was doing a trial run for a reception. Everything went smoothly.

It was wonderful sharing happy memories and celebrating a lady who has had such an impact on our lives. Seeing Maw Maw’s surprised face — and she really did seem surprised — was priceless. Having so many generations of family together created a warm atmosphere, and I’m so thankful we could all be together.

I’m also thankful to be Margy’s granddaughter. May the good times only get better.


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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Surprise! A 75th birthday celebration

  1. Happy, happy birthday, Maw Maw! 75! What a milestone. And such a lovely way to celebrate. So nice to hear all all about it (and see some of the most precious moments!) Thanks for sharing – it was a pleasure!

  2. Happy birthday to a great lady!

  3. Aw, Maw Maw sounds like a real gem! I’m glad she had a wonderful birthday!

  4. Sounds like a great party for a lovely woman. Looks like you have a wonderful family!

  5. Surprise parties are just the best! That’s so awesome that you all were able to surprise such a fantastic person!

  6. What a lovely thing to do…

  7. Wow – amazing photos, and such an incredible memory. Sounds like you really did contribute to an amazing day for her!! That’s amazing.

  8. Awwww she seems vivacious!

  9. Margy Snider

    Thank you for a lovely article and beautiful pictures. It was more of a shocking party than a surprise party How blessed I am to have such an amazing, loving family. A big thank you to all for making my birthday a day to remember.

  10. Cindy

    Awesome lady and a very loving family …… And that is no surprise!

  11. Kathy Oliphant

    Meg, you did an awesome job making the center pieces and taking beautiful pictures of the family. We will cherious the photos forever. Love the book your mom put together. She really captured memory lane.Love you all!