Real Celebration: A Birthday in Letters

This is the perfect Real Celebration post for this week - National Letter Writing Week. We encouraged you earlier this week to sit down and write one letter. Someone on the other end of that letter will likely cherish your words (and for some of you, be surprised that you put pen to paper). But how about if you received a whole batch of letters? On your birthday, no less. Real letters (not just cards) with stories and memories and words of gratitude and celebration. Read on...this post gets better. We promise.

This past October, we took our mom, Nancy, out of town for a night.

We headed to Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado (hi Norman!) and quickly settled in for our second annual girl's getaway. After massages and wine and the joy of getting on the slow track, we presented our mamacita with her birthday gift. She was not expecting much this year. Why? Let us backtrack for a moment.

The previous year, we gave her a basket of gifts. An enormous basket, with one gift for every year she was celebrating. We are not saying the basket was big because of her age (never - she is eternally young!), but the idea of wrapping up 20, 30 or even 40 gifts for one person is a bit crazy. This was one big, crazy basket of birthday fun. It took forever to unwrap all the goodies. And she kept talking about it all year long! She never expected us to pull off something that big again - but we did. This year, we gave her an even better present.

We were inspired with an idea for her birthday last year, but sadly we ran out of time. After last year's memorable celebration, we came across a timely blog post showing us exactly how to execute this great idea. We set out to make this year even more memorable and put our idea in motion. A month before her birthday, we sent out a letter to her friends and family to ask them to consider writing a note to Nancy to help celebrate her upcoming birthday. We wanted to keep it a surprise so we had the letters mailed to us. Here is what the email to her friends looked like (and yes, we had to hijack her email list without her knowing!):

We were not sure of the response. But we never should have doubted the idea. Ever. We immediately received emails in response and a slew of letters in the mail.

 A couple letters were even hand-delivered and tucked under the front door mat.

We not only got enough letters to give her one for every year she was celebrating - but we had bonus ones too!

We put each letter in their own envelope and labeled them from 1 and on up.

We stacked them together, tied them with ribbon and put them in a gift bag. We were so excited to give her this gift and we almost spilled the beans (accidentally, of course) several times!

She was beyond(!) surprised with this gift and could not stop gushing over the idea. It was amazing that together with her friends and family we were able to create such a memorable gift. Perhaps we all loved the idea so much because far too often we wait until it is too late to tell someone what they mean to us. But she had the chance to hear it now and we had an opportunity to hear about our mom from the perspective of her friends. Her siblings. Her mother. Her brother-in-law and father-in-law too! There were some stories that shocked us and some that were sincerely heartfelt and made us cry. Others recalled hysterical moments that really put so much into perspective. It was one of those nights where we just kept reading letters, drinking wine, lounging by the fireplace and really celebrating our mom.

It was unforgettable and we would do it all over again. 

Day 13: Daily Words