Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The rest of my break

My last post summarized most of my time off, but missed out on the bits on either side!

The first Saturday was our party to celebrate what would have been my eldest daughter's 21st birthday. We went shopping on the Thursday to get in the supplies, then started preparing some of the food on the Friday. Saturday morning we were up with the lark (a good old English phrase!) and cooking stuff for the party. I did things like mini pizzas and fried chicken wraps, while my wife did amazing things with puff pastry.

The weather was OK, cloudy but not cold or raining, and gradually cleared so that my about 3pm it was blazing sunshine.

Doors were open at 12 o'clock. Things started slowly, with a few people drifting in and out, but by around 2.30 it was mayhem - I don't think our little house has ever had so many people in it! Things then slowed down, with the final guests drifting away at about 8 o'clock.

Then it was balloon time. Every year we end the day by releasing a balloon each, so at around 8.30 we released a selection of Winnie the Poohs, Piglets and Eeyores into the darkening sky, watching them drift off in the breeze.

As an intriguing side note it seems that one of the balloons that we released last year caused a UFO incident! Someone took a photo of it a few miles to the East and submitted it as a sighting! I can hear Sophie laughing at that right now!

We all had a great day, remembering our daughter in a way that she would have loved.

Winding forward to the next weekend, we were invited to the birthday party of an old friend of ours. It involved a short train trip to a nearby town that we have never really visited. Before leaving I looked up where we were going on Google Maps and found the route.

Some of you will know that I do not have a good reputation when it comes to finding my way around. This reputation was in evidence on Sunday as we left the train station, with me boldly leading the way and the kids immediately declaring that we were lost! After a few minutes of this I told the kids that I knew exactly where we were, but the protests continued. So I looked around, saw a local and told him what street we were looking for. He confirmed that we were indeed on the right track!

In your face, doubting child! Daddy knows what he is doing! Hah, my reputation is being restored. Sort of. Sometimes you just can't win, can you? Why didn't I get Google Maps to plan a route for me? Why didn't I print it out so we could all see where we were going?

Next time, next time I will surrender the role of navigator - someone else can do it, I will just tag along and deny all responsibility...


I DID enjoy being right, though, just this once...


mindy said...

I think it is so wonderful that you celebrate Sophie's birthday every year. I bet it would mean a lot to her. :-)

Teresa said...

I thought all men came with a built in GPS! What's up with that? Ha! Chuck hates it when we are in a new city/state and I instinctively know what way to go when at home...I'm lost! LOL!!

LOVE the balloon idea! That's awesome! I'm glad you had a good time and the turn out for Sophie's party sounds fantastic...it's evident that she touched many lives!

kenady said...

I love how you celebrate Sophie's birthday. What a fantastic way to keep her memory alive!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic way to celebrate Sophie's life and remember her. I think it's a tradition more of us should adopt for our loved ones. After all, they would want us to remember them with happiness, not sadness. Hugs to you!

jenelle said...

Once again you celebrate life rather than dwelling on tragedy. Thanks for giving us all an example of living life to it's fullest. Prayers for peace.

My hubby knows where he's going but always second guesses himself if I'm in the vehicle.

Ali said...

As usual - you are a family who knows how to do things up right! Beautiful tribute to Sophie, and hilarious about the UFO sighting last year :)

Kiki said...

Rock Chef, A lovely tribute, and touching way to remember your daughter...I alwasy love when we get to talking about my dad, it brings him close again, if only for a bit. It comforts me.

I have very good GPS, in fact, Ken can't find his way out of a paper bag...but he doesn't have to worry ever again because we bought him the GPS that goes in the car...problem solved.

Take care friend!!!

Chief Rock Chef said...

Mindy - Thanks. Like most girls she loved being the centre of attention.

Teresa - I don't know what it is about the directions thing - maybe we feel we have to find something to replace going out and spearing a woolly mammoth for dinner?

Kenady - Given that she died just 3 weeks before her 18th birthday we had to think hard about how we were going to do things. We decided that a party would be best for everyone and have never regretted it.

Terri - I agree. Several people have said that it has changed their view on things and that when they go they want the occasion to be marked with a party to celebrate their lives rather than a sombre affair to mark their death.

Jenelle - Thanks. We have been far from orthodox in how we have dealt with things, but it has been the right way for us. It seems to have helped our other children immensely, too.

Ali - Thanks. It is certainly the right way for us. Glad you liked the UFO bit too, we loved it.

Kiki - Talking is good. We know families where a death has become a taboo subject, causing everyone, especially children, to bottle things up. Not good. We often talk about her, about things she said and did, and when we are our shopping, for example, one of us will often hold something up and declare that Sophie would have bought it. Sometimes we buy it anyway! It all helps.

Jen said...

But sometimes you find the best stuff just by being lost.

. . . .I'll be on the lookout for that UFO. Happy belated, Sophie!

Chief Rock Chef said...

Jen - That is very true - but that sort of thing is best done alone, not with 3 kids dragging along behind you!

Chachi said...

Chief Glad all went well with Sophie's party. It's awesome that you are so open about it all. I know she will always be in your hearts.

Love the fabulous pics especially the sunset, wow that is so cool.

Hip, hip horray for your wife hard work and it paid off, You go claire!

Marie said...

So glad the party for Sophie went well. It's wonderful that you celebrate her birthday every year and keep her memory alive.

Um Naief said...

setting off balloons is truly a wonderful thing. made me sad and happy at the same time. brings a peaceful calm to watch them drift and what a beautiful way to celebrate her life.