Like the rest of the world around me, I lead a busy life. As a wife, daughter, granddaughter, friend and entrepreneur. But no matter how crazed I am, and I can get downright manic, I’m never too busy to look around me at the wonderful family with whom I share my life. To say that I’m grateful, while completely accurate, is just simply not enough. Words tend to fail me. Particularly when I know that unlike many around me, I get to spend time with my mother, Mary Lou, as well as HER mother, my Grandma Lena. I know, I know. Perhaps the words LUCKY, FORTUNATE, BLESSED should readily come to mind. But trust me, they do. And not just because it’s Thanksgiving week. I know I’m lucky to have two generations of women to share the trials and tribulations of life with, the absurdness of it all and the beauty each day brings. It’s a luxury I don’t take lightly year-round. I’m so BLESSED to hear their stories, GRATEFUL to learn from their mistakes and FORTUNATE to share their love of food and family. Not to mention, hearing my Grandma Lena talk about my mother, sharing a laugh with her about one of the men in the family, or just getting to watch my mom and grandma cook dinner together. It’s the little things that matter. And it’s truly a gift I TREASURE.
So this summer, when my Grandma celebrated her 99th birthday, it just had to be fabulous! I mean, come on, her 99th birthday! Isn’t that incredible? Entertaining is a family sport, passed on enthusiastically from generation to generation, and when it came down to celebrating Lena’s birthday, well, it had to be GOOD. And by “good” I mean good old fashioned backyard fun! My mother and I pulled out all the stops for a summertime family celebration for Lena.
Trees were filled with bright red paper pom poms, glass vases were filled with her favorite white flowers, white table clothes were layered with butcher paper runners, red-stitched dish towels became festive napkins tied with bakery twine, and tiny white pails filled with whole cherries became take-home party favors.
A serve-yourself homemade lemonade station was set up on an old wooden table we pulled from the house, and if you wanted to add a little Prosecco to your lemonade, that wasn’t a problem for Lena! and then there was the food, lots and lots of it! (We’re Italian, of course there was a crazy spread of delicious food!)
Mini Cherry Cupcakes and a delicious Cherry Birthday Cake! The perfect little sweet somethings for the summer birthday party!
My grandma was so overwhelmed by all the family and friends who came to see her on her birthday, she just kept hugging my mother and thanking her for her thoughtfulness. We love you Lena, and we’re GRATEFUL to share your table.