At the end of February, this family gathered to celebrate Lina's 90th birthday! Lina, a beloved mother, nana, and great grandmother, was filled with emotion and surprise when she arrived at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Michigan. A night out for dinner turned into an evening party with family.
Her family lined the driveway as she pulled up. Lina was greeted with love and laughter. They all gave her warm embraces as she greeted everyone. Then the family spent some time touring the mansion before gathering for dinner. Meadow Brook Hall, located on Oakland University's campus, is a true historic landmark. Built in the late 1920's, it is filled with history and well preserved with original furniture and artwork. A beautiful venue for such a special event.
After the tour, the family gathered around the original dining room table to celebrate Lina and the life she's lived. At dinner, a special birthday prayer was said and Lina lovingly admired her son who was giving the blessing. You could see the deep appreciation in her face. The love in the room was undeniable and it was such a special occasion to have four generations celebrating together.
Following dinner, the family gathered to sing happy birthday to their guest of honor. A very special birthday indeed. And what to follow was so heartfelt, I could have cried! The family put together a slideshow movie displaying her entire life, from beginning to present, with special family messages throughout. Her childhood, her husband, her adventures, her family, her legacy thus far, all there on the screen. And to no surprise, Lina was brought to tears by the end.
The evening continued with toasts, well wishes, and reminiscing on memories together. I felt honored to be a part of it all. I was invited to document this precious family event and I loved every minute of it. It made me think of my own family and how momentous this time is for them to be together.
At the end of February in Michigan, we were blissfully unaware as to what the next couple of weeks would bring. It felt like months ago, yet it was just a few weeks. I am sure that the family values that time together, the opportunity to gather, to hug one another, to laugh, to cry, to celebrate. Now, we do not have that opportunity. In isolation, we are warned to stay away from loved ones, and it can be extremely challenging.
Though the impact of our current status is great and heart breaking, I know we will all cherish those moments with family so much more once this has passed. The simple hugs, the warm embraces, the laughter, the dancing, the pure joy, when we can all come together again. If you are able, give your loved ones the biggest hug and let them know how much you appreciate them. And if you aren't, joyfully anticipate the next time that you can. During our time of waiting apart, reminisce those memories, look at old photographs, and remember, most people you love are just a phone call away.
Looking at these photographs, I can feel the pure joy and love between this family again. I am happy that they were able to have this gathering and valued documenting it, to cherish each moment.
All my love,