A month ago Earl and I volunteered to host an appreciation dinner for the Christian Education workers in our church. By now you know we love to feed people and I had grand dreams of a warm June evening with candles and good food and a chance to express appreciation for everything these wonderful people do for the kids in our church and community. Oh it was going to be beautiful...
Enter reality. The Saturday before Memorial day I was out in the yard, and as I turned around to go back to my weeding after talking to Earl, I rolled my left ankle in such a way that I actually heard it crunch. Not good, but I figured it was sprained. I grabbed a comfy chair and the darling husband brought me ice for it and I chatted with him while he finished what he was doing. By the next morning I knew I needed to have it looked at and a quick trip to the E.R. confirmed my fear, I had broken my foot. They wrapped it, handed me crutches and sent me on my way until I could see an Orthopedic Dr.
Have you ever tried to carry anything while on crutches? The problem is your hands are already full, so I found myself unable to help prepare for the party that was to be held in our back yard on June 7. Oh, I drove myself crazy for the next two weeks! I couldn't so much as pick up the house, Earl worked 50+ hours a week, did the cooking and cleaning and almost everything else single handed. We shopped for the food and other things we needed to feed 30 people and I prayed for good weather.
So last night was the party. No rain but June in Michigan and by 10 a.m. it was only 54 degrees outside! I had friends who graciously came and set things up while I directed from crutches. The wind blew, by 2 p.m. it had topped out at 60 degrees. There was no going back. People were going to freeze. I ditched the idea of lining the center of the table with votive candles, they would blow out in an instant. I had one of my helpers grab the lanterns I had used for Lauren’s reception and used them instead. They hung some paper lanterns but we were all pretty discouraged and didn't hang nearly as many as I had planned. I retreated to the house feeling like a helpless failure. All my grandiose dreams of glory shot down by a broken foot and a cold summer day. I abandoned my camera in disgust.
But you know what? By 7 p.m. the wind had died down, people wore sweaters, we made hot coffee and served hot food. The evening began to grow dark and the lights in the lanterns and the twinkle lights on the fence began to glow. The wonderful, beautiful crew of teens who had volunteered to serve worked hard to make sure that everyone had what they needed and felt cared for, (How I love those kids! I wanted to give each one a huge hug and kiss, but knowing how teens feel about that I refrained. But in my heart, oh I hugged and kissed the dickens out of them:>) And it was beautiful. It was perfect. And I let go of trying to live up to a styled image on Pinterest and enjoyed the happiness of the people around us as they celebrated their work, and friendship and service. As the light grew dim, the paper lanterns glowed and the lights behind the stand of Siberian iris twinkled on the fence. The last of the guests left around 10 p.m. not put off one bit by the chilly evening.
So this morning I got “morning after” shots. There is a kind of beauty to seeing the remnants of a night spent with friends and loved ones. We have some great memories, and judging by the comments as people left, so will they.
Pinterest is great inspiration, and sometimes it is hard to remember that most of those photos are styled for hours under ideal conditions and captured by professionals. I will still be addicted. But I hope in the future I can relax my insane expectations to match reality. What people want is not the perfect photo op party, they want good food, and the feeling that someone cared enough to make the night special.
Not perfect, just special.