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It was magical. That’s really the best word to describe it. The weather held out beautifully and the party was most certainly held outside in the yard, where we had always envisioned it (and what we — ahem, Mark — had worked so hard for). It had a wedding-like quality, which was both good and bad. Bad only in the sense that all these people had come to celebrate with us and we managed to have very few meaningful or long conversations with anyone. It was lots of quick minutes with one group or another before moving onto the next arriving (or departing) guests. I now want to have many smaller gatherings where we can actually sit and connect with our friends (and boy, do we have the leftover beer and wine for that!).
I do have two regrets. The first, pretty minor, is that I fully intended to use my last blog post to ask people to take their own pictures and post them. That way I would have seen the evening from many different perspectives, all the small groups that formed here or there, on the lawn or the porch or even the treehouse deck. But I totally forgot and it wasn’t until the sun had already set that I thought to ask our helper girls to go around and snap some shots. The flash on my iPhone isn’t very good, but they definitely managed to capture the magical quality of the yard with all its twinkling lights.
Representing the westside
(You must all know that, if you’re in my life, you have implicitly granted permission for me to publicly display your photos, official release form or not. And you all looked lovely anyway, so no complaining.)
My second regret is much bigger and it’s that I didn’t take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to thank everyone publicly. You know that whenever there’s a microphone available, I find a way to speak into it! And yes, we had a microphone and yes, I had something in my head to say, but there never seemed to be the right moment. It all went by in a flash, until suddenly I took a breath and there were just fifteen of us sitting out on the porch (which we did until 3am). When one of my girlfriends said she was surprised I hadn’t spoken, I said that I’d intended to, and they then convinced me to stand up and do it right there. I felt a little silly, since I was speechifying to my nearest and dearest (and a few late night randoms) but of course, I didn’t need much arm-twisting.
I will write it to you here tomorrow, I promise, a belated Thank You edited from what I can only imagine was some margarita-induced rambling. But for now just accept our thanks for coming and sharing in the specialness of the night with us. And thank you for all the wine and gifts; I made the stupid mistake of separating everything from their cards and gift bags as soon as I opened it and now I can’t figure out who brought what. Oops!
And one more photo of the party aftermath … tonight’s recycling:
For your viewing pleasure, here are the latest pictures of the boys’ treehouse.
From the outside:
And the inside:
OK, that’s all I have for you this evening. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming ….
Well, the work has begun. And my, what a lot of work it is!
We woke up yesterday morning to an army of Amish carpenters in the backyard, laying the foundation for Austin’s treehouse. I mean, his tree-village. It is enormous. I can’t quite picture how it’s going to end up but I can definitely tell that it is going to be very very large.
The boys are thrilled, of course, and eager for it to be finished. Looks to me like it should take weeks and weeks but the men said they’d be done in another four days. Which works out perfectly because we leave for Maine tomorrow (yay, finally!) until Tuesday evening, so there will be quite a sight awaiting us upon our return.
I spoke with the workers yesterday and introduced them to Austin, who smiled shyly from my arms but refused to speak or make eye contact. They asked about his story and after giving them a brief version, one man said to another, “That sounds just like your son.” Turns out one of the carpenters has a son who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in his kidney when he was nine months old. He said for the first day or two (which happened to be Christmas Eve and Christmas), the doctors thought he had Wilms. He lost one kidney and had a full year of chemotherapy and is now a healthy and normal third grader.
One of the three brothers from the contractor company also had leukemia as a teenager and his family was sent to Disney World as a gift from Make-A-Wish. So you see how this all comes full circle. I can’t wait for the day, well into the future, when Austin or Braedan make a wish come true for some sick child and get to tell the story of their own dream treehouse and all the magical childhood memories they made in it.
Pictures to follow, I promise . . . when we return!