Some of life's greatest lessons come from first hand experience. And those experiences teach us the "I wish I had" or "I'm glad I did" moments. You know those "living WITH regrets" or "living with NO regrets". The latter on both of those statements is truly the best way to go. Believe me, I've known both. Those times we "miss it" are surely those times we learn from the most. Life is so short and making the most of everything we can when the opportunities arise, not only gives us sweet memories, but it makes for deepening our relationships with each other.
A couple of days ago I divulged my news on FB that my home sold in Tulsa and I'll be moving to Texas. "Hammer down" was the term I used for the non-stop mode of getting my home all packed up before the movers get there next Tuesday. With limited sleep and many hours a day of relentless crunching the "have to's", it would have been easy and understandable by my granddaughter, to miss being with her this year on her birthday. Nevertheless, my motto "Live With No Regrets" kept me grounded on what's most important.
My granddaughter's 15th birthday was yesterday. It is rare that I/we ever missed one of our grandchildren's birthdays. I've told how our family always makes a big deal of each other's birthdays. Alexia knew my moving schedule, so she didn't expect me, but how could I NOT be there to celebrate my girl when she's only 3-1/2 hours away? So, at 5:20 am, I hit the road. While driving, I called to wish her happy birthday and I told her how much I wish I were there for her and that we would make up for the time lost. That was just before I arrived at her home. She came out of the room, and all cameras were on her as she saw me. Oh, sweet surprise. Not being one that can usually be surprised, I surprised her and said, "I surprised you. I surprised you. I wouldn't miss my girl's birthday. Are you kidding me?"
That effort enabled me to be a part of a day of fun surprises and adventures. First we headed to our 5th year in a row, lunch at Neiman Marcus' Mariposa Restaurant for her favorite broth soup and popovers with strawberry butter. Then after a little shopping at Willow Bend, it was off to Grapevine Mall, where another surprise awaited Alexia. She was just 5 years old the last time she went to one of her favorite restaurants, Rainforest Cafe. She "remembered" being so scared as a little girl when the lightning and thunder would come and the animals would roar. This time she treasured those memories then and the memories made yesterday.
It was topped off by Larry, Payton and Will surprising her by meeting us there. Then it was home with a house filled with kids from her church's youth group to surprise her. Laughing, running, playing music,going to the park, watching movies, playing games -- all a part of celebrating life. Wonderful gifts from her friends: money, new shoes from Payton, tickets to the Carrie Underwood Concert next Tuesday night. The biggest surprises of all were Larry & Staci's gift of tickets to "Phantom of the Opera" -- a dream she's had for a long time, and Will's gift of the Phantom mask pendant/necklace. With this outpouring of life, I know Alexia felt loved and celebrated. And, I was here to see it all and be a part of yet another year of thanksgiving and appreciation. Now, I'm hitting the road back to Tulsa -- hammer down -- finishing up this elephant with memories that will last my lifetime!