This past Saturday would have been my Mom's 54th birthday, the first one that we have celebrated without her. In honor of her birthday, my brother thought of having a "Nana Day" where we could celebrate her life by taking our kids around town doing all the things she loved. This year it is still hard and bittersweet, but I loved this idea as a way for the cousins to grow up knowing what kinds of things she liked and doing things with us that remind us of her. It's my hope that through all the stories and pictures and things like Nana Day, that they will have some kind of idea of who she was or feel like they knew her even though she passed away before they could remember her.
We braved the chilly and rainy day to start out at Crabtree Valley Mall, to shop around a little bit (since we all know Nana loved loved loved shopping!). Ironically, Alisa pointed out that on rainy days, the first thing Mom would have done was go "breathe some mall air." We met up at Panera, and as we turned the corner, the first thing we hit was Lindt Chocolates, Mom's favorite chocolate store! I remember Mom and I always hitting up Lindt for their free sample of a truffle ball (and somehow always ending up buying more to take home!).
Of course, we had to eat a few in her honor! Evan ate his all in one bite, and Kenna rode sweetly in her stroller, amazed at all the different colors. Grannie bought us some for later!
Next, we stopped off at Alisa's and my favorite kids clothing store, Janie and Jack, to ooh and ahh over the totally unaffordable but gorgeous kids clothes! If I had $48 bucks to spend on such things, this would have been my pick for Kenna:
Instead, we tried a few pairs of sunglasses on her. This little girl will probably be tortured by her parents with funny pictures like this the rest of her life!
Somehow in the store, Jason and Alisa either misplaced their camera, or it was swiped off the top of their stroller. We regrouped at Auntie Anne's with a pretzel and a coke while Jason went to leave their information at lost and found.
Ironically, most of the things we could remember as Nana's favorites or that we loved to do with her involved food... so somewhere right after our pretzels, we decided we needed some real lunch, and headed back downstairs to Panera, Nana's favorite!
The main event of the day, (as planned by Jason!) was meeting up with some of Nana's good friends at the tearoom in Wake Forest. Anyone who knew Mom knew she had a big thing for tea cups and tea parties (pretty much any kind of party), and she really enjoyed trips to the tearoom for special celebrations. We met up with Chris, Sue, and Jeannie for a ladies' tea and stories about Mom.
In true Nana fashion, I had to make sure the party had some kind of handmade party favors. For Mom, making the party favors was enough of a reason in itself to have a party! So I made some fabric-covered button magnets from her stash of fabric in her signature colors, brown and pink.
We concluded the night with dinner at Red Hot and Blue, a great barbecue restaurant that Mom liked. Of course, the boys didn't mind, since it's their favorite too! Despite the cold rain, Grannie, Jason, Alisa, and Evan (and baby girl!) ended the night at Goodberry's for Mom's favorite ice cream- she always got vanilla and almond concretes- but Matt, Kenna and I had to get on the road back to Randleman. It was lucky that we did... it snowed 5 inches the next night!
The day was fun because of our sweet family and happy memories of Mom, but also sad and bittersweet to be doing all the things she loved and that we used to do with her while she couldn't be there. It seems like all the things I do that remind me of her have an element of that... the sharp pain of being reminded that she "should" be here and isn't. I don't think that will ever get any easier this side of heaven. But I'm happy to cling to these little memories of Mom, and they will become more and more important to me as Kenna gets old enough to start hearing them.
Happy Birthday, Mom!