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#ThisIs80: How to Plan a (Forgotten) Birthday Party in 2 Weeks

My grandma Florence and I are very close. My mom and I lived with her until I was 5 when we moved into our own apartment. Even then, I’d still spend the night(even school nights!!) at her house and my mom would just bring me clothes the next morning. She and I talk on the phone almost daily; I’ve been calling her all the time since probably my first day of college…in 2007. She’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and gets super duper excited whenever I tell her about my adventures so it’s safe to say she lives vicariously through me.

Earlier this year on Mother’s Day, a few of us were all sitting at her house eating the chicken and waffles Robert prepared for her when she announced she wanted a 80th birthday party to celebrate herself. It’s funny she mentioned wanting a surprise because I’d been thinking about putting one together anyway so it was a confirmation to me I had the right idea. Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time she had a party; the only other one I remember is from when I was a kid.

Pre-Birthday Interview

Over the last year or so, I’ve been seeing people online say how important is to get some kind of oral history from older generations. That gave me the idea of making a video with her. I convinced her to do it by telling her it’ll be simple and fun. She kept asking if she needed to get cute or anything. The interview went by fast and she says I made her feel relaxed the entire time. Now she says don’t ask her to do another interview but I know that’s not true 🙂

Putting the Birthday Party Together

Around early September is when my mom and I started putting the plans in motion. The hardest task about putting together a party is definitely getting addresses and phone numbers from everyone I wanted to send an invitation. This is where my anxiety kicks in because I’m freaking out calling and texting because it is “short” notice. Having to call all of Flo’s siblings was such a task because majority of them either didn’t know who I was or didn’t remember me. One of Flo’s brothers even told me he thought I was prank calling him until he confirmed who I was with my uncle Barry.

Fortunately, everyone was down for the surprise party. My mom came up with an idea of telling my grandma they were going shopping but not telling her exactly where they were going. I could tell my grandma was excited because she mentioned “going shopping” everyday leading up to the big day.

The Big Event

The party was such a huge success! My biggest worry was someone arriving after the surprise and missing out. Good thing is..everyone showed up on time and ready! She walked in with no idea what was about to happen. Her first reaction when she came in was “Who are all these people??”. Once she realized what’s really going on, her mouth dropped. Seeing her and all her siblings together for the first time in forever (with no tragedy) is the best thing.

I’m glad I could do this for my grandma because it wasn’t something she was expecting at all. She wanted to celebrate herself so that’s what we were going to do. Although it was hot in my mom’s house because of all the bodies, everyone that came to her party also had a great time.

Maybe throwing her birthday parties should become a yearly thing…

Take a look at her 80th birthday interview below: