"Fancy Nancy!" they chimed together.
They're still young. There are plenty of years to invite friends, so for a few weeks I contemplated having just a small family party. But when the discussion came up and their excitement was more than evident, I decided to rally. Inspired by my friend Michelle, who throws the most magnificent birthday parties ever, I figured it would be fun to go all out. (Michelle, my going all out looks like a shoddy knock-off compared to yours, but we work with what we've got, right?)
So the invitations were sent.
The cake was made.
The table was set.
And on the big day, I pulled the girls' hair into up-dos (we call them Belle ponies at our house). I tucked special clips into their curls, put on their fancy dresses, and fastened beads and baubles around their necks.
Never mind that they weren't happy about posing for the camera.
Sour faces were short-lived because the doorbell rang, and with it, the arrival of their first guests.
Grandma Nae and Grandma Ronda. Don't they look exquisite? (That's fancy for especially gorgeous.)
These two ladies keep our world turning. I marvel sometimes that we live close enough for them to simply drive over and join us for a celebration like this. I couldn't have done it without them. They were wonderful waitresses, excellent melt-down mediators, and ravishingly delightful the entire time. (That's fancy for handled crying under the table, spilled lemonade, and tears over the wrong colored-purse with a smile.)
We used our fine china, including these silver tea cups from my Grandmother. My Dad tenderly polished each one for the party. While unwrapping the plastic I noticed they were still in the original boxes. A stamp of calligraphy indicated their origin. "Made in Madrid, Spain."
My Grandmother's birthday was yesterday in fact, February 16th. She would have been 96. Last year on her birthday I took the girls to visit her - to bring flowers and sing Happy Birthday. A manicurist was painting her nails so the girls gathered close - inspecting, watching, admiring.
It was my last real visit with Grandma. The next time I saw her she was unconscious in a hospital room and all I could do was whisper in her ear how much I loved her.
She would have adored our little party and the fact that we were sipping from her teacups. She would have laughed with the girls, danced in the living room with them, and worn her most beautiful jewelry, her fanciest hat. So I pinned her sparkly vintage brooch to my sweater and wore her pearl necklace.
I like to think she was watching.
Memories melded into our morning preparations. Four years of sweetness danced around me.
The girls seemed older. Maybe it was their hair, the dresses, the way they handled themselves with more maturity.
Just like that they are looking like girls, not toddlers. Beauties, not babies.
Our guests were so proper and well-behaved as they sat at the table. Aren't they darling?
The tablecloth was sprinkled with candy hearts, gumdrops, and m & m's. We ate those first. Wouldn't you?
Then we served lunch.
Fancy Grandmas fixed plates of food and poured pink lemonade.
We read one of Nancy's stories.
We played games.
Look at that concentration. Balancing a banana on your head as you walk across the room is no easy trick.
Ali and Sami opened presents.
And handed out presents.
We lit candles.
And the girls blew in unison. Four candles each.
Some ate cake, some ate ice cream, some ate both.
Doug put on Vivaldi and we waltzed. The girls skipped, curtsied, and ran crazy until they laughed themselves silly.
They toted their newly decorated purses around and posed for one final picture before we said goodbye.
I'm not afraid to admit it, by the end of it all, I was exhausted (that's a fancy word for beat). But the girls couldn't stop talking about the party, the gifts, the day. It was rich with color and wonderful tastes.
Beautiful things, glamorous girls, and a sense of wealth that far exceeded "fancy."
Would I do it again? Absolutely. We get one go around in life.
And for these two? I would do anything.
I love you girls.