As I have said before, I am terrible at blogging! I recently shared this frustration with one of my most favourite people, Jenny. She has a wonderful blog ( http://cestsurprenant.weebly.com/ ) and was super kind to turn around within days and write this truly lovely blog entry for me to post up here. After wiping the tears away I wholeheartedly agreed. I will preface this with saying that as much as I adore making sure others feel special and loved, it is hard for me to take compliments, so this entry is tough for me to post because I don’t feel I have earned this! HOWEVER, I know that is my issue, I know my Jenny loves me so and for that I am forever grateful. The friendship I have built with Jenny, PB and their two children is beyond words important to me and my every day life….
So thank you Jenny, and here she is:
There really is so much love here.
The last thing my aunt Judy said to me as I left her hospital room was “There is so much love here”. That was in June of 2006 and it has popped up into my head hundreds of times since then, and it came back to me as I looked at these photos from PB’s surprise party.
After the party had gotten underway, someone asked me how it felt to know that I had pulled it off, and while I can’t remember how I worded it then, the gist of it was that I felt like it had brought me back to life. Dramatic? Perhaps, but really, I’m coming to the end of a maternity leave that has really kicked my ass in many ways, so it’s not that far from the truth.
There would’ve been many reasons to NOT host a surprise party at this time, but PB’s 40th, as well as the 10th anniversary of The Go-Go Radio Magic Show ( http://http://cjlo.com/shows?q=node/21 ) were both too big to ignore. I think there was a part of me that also wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do it at this stage of the mat leave. We’ve lived almost hermit-like for such a big part of the past 6 years that I wanted to welcome the world to our new place and celebrate these 2 big occasions in a way that we haven’t in a long time. Wait- ever- we have NEVER hosted anything like this party on July 19, and I wanted that to change.
And how it did. Once I laid out my dream of having shirts made of the show’s latest logo to Talia and Ian, and they both confirmed that it could be done, it was all smooth from there. I’ve never seen a group of people be organized so easily. A couple of messages on Facebook and that was it. Ian took care of another group, and I’m just going to assume that it was easy for him too. Everyone was on time or had the courtesy to let us know they were running a bit late as to not ruin the surprise… and really, what a surprise it was.
I set it up on the Friday night, telling him that I was unable to get his gift delivered on time, apologizing profusely and warning him there’d be nothing to open in the morning. I let him sleep in, (which in hindsight, I realize could’ve been his only gift and it would’ve been much, much easier- haha), and took the kids out to get some pastries. In the afternoon, he left with the baby, and Gigi and I baked a cake, furiously cleaning at the same time. My biggest dilemma was in figuring out how I could leave the apartment and get him to come meet us at the park, where our guests would be hiding. And somewhere between mixing the icing and sweeping the kitchen floor, it hit me.
When he came back, I told him in secret that Gigi wanted to do something for his birthday, so I was going to leave with the kids for a bit. I explained that I didn’t yet know what I’d say to him on our way out, but he was just to go along with me and make it easy by not asking questions. There were eye rolls and a few wide-eyed “she’s driving me crazy” sighs for effect. I told him to at least enjoy the quiet while it lasted. Back in the kitchen, I told Gigi about my plan, and she was surprised and maybe a bit confused about how I was tricking PB while pretending to be tricking her… but she seemed to understand, so we were good.
Once I knew that people had started arriving across the street, I did what I had told him I was going to do, and for added oomph, Gigi came into the living room and casually said “Yeah, we just need to get Sammy out of here for a bit, so we’re going to get some air”. I told him that either I’d call him, or we’d just come home, whatever, you know?
I practically ran to the park. I knew we were in the clear. He had no idea. Everyone started arriving, and were so excited to put on one of the t-shirts commemorating the show. Once the group had assembled, I asked them to sit on benches, and I got installed with the 2 kids in the center, with our backs to where I knew he’d enter the park from. I called him, did the whole “Sorry, PB, yeah, I just need to come to the park now…” and because I had already told him this was a fake ploy, he just came.
There was a bit of confusion surrounding Gigi’s announcement of “Now”, but it didn’t matter. By the time I had turned with the kids, and he saw his face on a shirt, I don’t even know how long it took before he realized that all the other black shirts walking towards him were his friends. I couldn’t stop jumping up and down because I couldn’t believe it had worked.
He was still stunned late into Sunday afternoon. I could tell, and then I overheard him say it to someone on the phone. I too was buzzing well into Sunday, and I think that more than feeling proud of myself (which I’ll admit there was a bit of), I just felt really grateful that we are surrounded by that group of people who showed up to celebrate with us. There were several people there who we don’t see often, and yet they were there, thrilled to get one of the amazing shirts, thrilled to meet Magic Sam, thrilled to draw with the bigger kids out on the sidewalk. From making guacamole to putting out bowls of chips and whatever else, people just wanted to help make the night beautiful and because of them, it really was.
So when I look at these 222 amazing photos, all of those feelings come back. On that night, I felt like we had arrived at the perfect time and place. We were home and people were happy to share it with us. I had moments of wishing other very important people could be there too, but for the most part, I just marvelled at how far we’ve come, even just in these past 12 months.
I think there’s a shot of every single fantastic person who was with us that night but one. A very important person who’s nowhere to be seen, and while it’s a lovely face which SHOULD be seen, I’ve come to realize that she’s everywhere even though we can’t see her. Talia, even more than her photography, has brought her love and energy to our lives in ways I don’t think she even knows.
This whole site is filled with the moments Talia fades into and allows to happen unobstructed around her. PB’s party will forever be one of my favorite memories ever because it was really just perfect, and I wanted this post to just be about that, but it’s impossible to not make it about Talia, who really, more than the party has helped bring me back to life. I look at the photos she has taken this past year, and while I see exhaustion and lines on my face, I see the people who make all those lines and sleepless nights worthwhile. There is love and there is beauty, and I’m sure that everyone who has worked with her, or is lucky enough to call her friend/family, has felt exactly the same way.
There really is so much love here.