Whether it be through movies, books, TV shows or friends, I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard “never forget the importance of family,” or “family is one of the most important things you can have.” Of course, I believed that – and I always loved my family more than anyone or anything else – but it took me until my twenties before I truly understood how important it was to be a part of a family that you feel connected with and that you continue to have a relationship with. Once I came to that realization, I’ve spent the last several years making sure that all my familial relationships flourish – through visits, phone calls, and yes, even Facebook. Family really is that important, and I want them to always feel like an important part of my life.
Last weekend was one of those family bonding times, and if I do say so, it was quite a wonderful one. My Nana Helen celebrated her 90th birthday on July 27, and in celebration of this HUGE life milestone, my family had a birthday party for her at Brio Tuscan Grille (she claims it was such a surprise, but I’m fairly certain that she knew about the entire thing). Now, I should clarify – my Nana (and majority of the party attendees) are not my blood family; we’ve become family through marriage. But, you know what? Technicalities like that don’t really matter when you a part of a group that you feel especially connected to. Plus, we’ve been family for more than half of my life, so really there is no difference in my book.
Nana Helen has lived quite a life (90 whole years of it) and has many people that love her, so even though our birthday party guest list was limited to family, people came from near and far to celebrate the long life of a woman who has touched so many others. I got to see aunts who live in New Jersey and Colorado, and a cousin currently living Chicago, all of whom I haven’t seen in years! But most importantly, I got to spend some quality time with Nana. While I didn’t know her as a child, I’ve had such a wonderful time chatting her up at all the family functions and getting to know Nana over the last 15+ years. She has taught me so many great things about the world and life (including the fact that you can drink a large amount of scotch without feeling it), and I am so blessed that I was able to drive down to Houston to celebrate with her.
There is so much that I could say about Nana’s birthday celebration, but rather than get too wordy, I thought I would share some photos from the soiree. Enjoy!