Friday, April 25, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 17

Attend An Event of Grand Proportions

Seek out a moment of celebration, spectacle and ambition... says my 52 Writer Dates book.  

Well, I didn't have to seek too far. 

My dear mother's 70 birthday celebrations this month delivered an event of grandest proportions.

And to heighten the occasion, I arranged a surprise afternoon tea with her dearest girls. 

Daughter, granddaughter, sister-in-law and nieces, we snuck around one Sunday afternoon and met over the pressed linen cloths and silver service of High Tea at the Beau Monde Hotel in Melbourne. 

How was my mother's 70th birthday gathering a spectacle? 

For the very reason the dear girl had never had a birthday party in her life. And for the first time she walked into a room where those who love her called out surprise and welcomed her to the seat of honour. 

A smattering of cakes and birthday sing songs at home over the years had never really elevated to something this grand. Or secret. And I know it's the stealth with which we planned this afternoon that turned it from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Dear Mum thought she was going to a local shopping centre for a quick coffee. Instead, we arrived at a well apportioned tea room, furnished with the finest finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries. And in case that was not enough, the Death by Chocolate Buffet.   

Happy 70th birthday Sophie
My author challenge was to consider how a spectacle comes together. How it's executed on the day, and how the moment draws characters together. 

We all had our stories to share about that. How we avoided Mum in the days leading up to her surprise, in fear we might say something to give it away. The anticipation of leading her into a room where she had no idea a table of her favourite girls awaited, and how the men in the family played their own part in keeping her unaware. 

An event of grand proportions should cause at least one jaw to drop. In this case, it was the dear birthday girl. In a written scene, it might be more than one character who's overwhelmed. 

I loved watching the thrill on my mum's face when she walked into her party. The realisation she'd stepped into something bigger than she anticipated. And the delight in her guests matched her own. The giggle of her nieces and radiant smile of her sister-in-law. It all melded together in the best kind of birthday happiness, wrapped in the adoration we all have for this special lady. 

Sophie and all her dear ones
I recently attended another surprise birthday where the guest of honour's face crumbled into grateful thanks. She slipped out for a short cry and returned to the festivities with renewed composure. But we were all in it with her. Tears were blinked away by most of the guests that day. The emotion we held back when she
discovered us in her family room, had to appear sometime. It's the natural response to an event of grand proportions. 

I cry each time I see the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. I cry when I hear Australia's national anthem. And there's no way I won't cry when I sit through a graduation ceremony of one of my children. 

Grand events should pull on our emotions. 

Anticipation should churn our insides, happy tears should flow like confetti, and delight should bubble over like the fountain in the choc-laden buffet. 

What's the latest event of Grand Proportions you've attended? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,