After weeks of wondering and anticpating and trying ever so hard not to overspeculate, my birthday has ended. I did my best not to discuss it with Kevin. I didn't want him to feel pressured, nor did I want him to give anything away. It was hard to wait though. I kept wondering about the who, what, and how of things. A week ago, after reading this blog, Kevin cracked and told me it would be a "family party". Of course that's hardly a surprise. My family never misses a party!
I did have a bit of fun razzing my friends and family. They knew something and while I wasn't going to try to worm it out of them, it was fun watching them try to keep their voices calm and keep a straight face while discussing it. I'm so evil! Sometimes they made things a bit too obvious. My mother asked me a week ago how Abbey was and if she planned to visit any time soon. That seemed like a big setup if ever there was one. Speaking of razzing - I learned from the master! She wanted to see how I would respond to questions about when I would see Abbey again. I was on to her and thought, "There is a good chance Abbey will be at this party."
Yesterday afternoon I can not even tell you how nervous I was. Where would this party be? Who would show up? I realized that by building things up in my head, I could potentially be setting myself up for disappointment. We came home from the barn on the late side, but Kevin seemed totally unconcerned. He must have been struggling inside. The only thing I did to break his calm exterior was tell him I wanted to go pick up a perscription at CVS. It was about 6:30 and we had a 7:30 reservation. He warned me that time was running short.
Not knowing where the party would be, I quickly showered and dressed and was ready before 7. Kevin was lying on the bed taking a nap. For a guy who thought me taking a walk down the street to CVS would make us late for a 7:30 reservation, he certainly wasn't in any hurry to get himself ready. I was thinking of going over to CVS anyway. (Had I gone, I might have run in to some of the partygoers, which was what he was desperately trying to avoid.) It was probably 7:25 before he was ready and he was still taking his time.
We left by going down the back stairs of our building. From there we could have either gone into the garage for his car, or kept walking. He kept walking. That pretty much answered my question of where we were going. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance, but our favorite is Rani Mahal, and Rani Mahal is big enough to accomodate a party. Kevin finally said to me, "I did tell you that we're going to Rani Mahal tonight." I said, "No, but since we're walking in that direction, I figured that's where we were headed." I joked that he also could have had the party at Molly Spillane's. Kevin said he was deaf enough already without having to deal with the loud music at Molly's.
As we walked through the parking lot, I started observing the cars. I know what kinds of cars my immediate family members drive, but I couldn't tell you what everyone else drives. Then there are friends who would not likely drive at all like Abbey, who usually takes the train. I do know that there was one person whose car I could identify and that was Sian. I know she drives a Saturn (or did when I last was in a car with her) and that she would have Maryland plates. Sure enough, as I walked down the line of cars, I saw a Satun with Maryland plates. I said nothing to Kevin, but smiled inwardly. Yes! Sian was there.
I walked into a nearly empty restaurant. Only a few tables were occupied. Kevin said, "I think we're sitting back here." He went around the bar and I realized for the first time that Rani Mahal has a party room in back.
He opened a curtain and there they all were. Kevin had managed to pull together my friends and family from just about every aspect of my life. There were my horse friends, my theater friends, my high school and college friends, Kevin's friends, and Kevin's family. Kevin's brother flew in from Chicago. Sian had come from Baltimore and Abbey had come from Philadelphia. Greg was there and we get together so blessedly little these days. He had remembered to include the Harrison Players. My cousin Matt came with his wife and their weeks-old twins whom I had yet to meet. He hadn't left anyone out.
He had a Blurb book made up of photo spanning my entire life. It's sort of like the album I made for him on his birthday except he was much kinder and didn't put in the ugly school photos!
Not much more to say about the evening. I had to do quite a bit of circulating to make sure I spent time with all of the guests. I hope I did that well enough.
We had plenty of good food. Kevin did well in the department. The appetizer buffet would have fed everyone by itself, but after a while the waitstaff brought in bowls of korma and tikka masala and chana masala and aloo gobi, and saag paneer with bowls of basmati rice and baskets of naan bread. We had plenty for the omnivores and the vegetarians and managed to satisfy the folks who said they hated Indian food or else had simply never eaten Indian food before.
The restaurant provided some Indian desserts, but we also had a big double chocolate cake. Mom told me the cake was her domain. She bought it from the chi chi Black Forest Bakery in Greenwich. She did well. Mothers know what their kids like after all.
I didn't have the house ready, but it hardly mattered when Abbey and Sian said they were staying at our place last night. It's always awesome to have two of my best girlfriends staying with me for the night. Sian got to try out the new guest room.
The next morning we had breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in White Plains with Kevin's family (Kevin's brother and mother were staying there for the night). Bob and Susan and Malcolm had to rush out of there pretty quickly to catch their plane home, but we did manage to have a few more good times together before it all had to end.
The crash after the big build up is always hard. It's pretty lonely now. I stayed home to clean up, put away gifts, and write thank-you notes. I miss everyone already. I do have some super memories though. Thanks to everyone who came and many many many thanks to my wonderful husband for putting this all together!