At the end of my last post, I told you we were taking four lovely, dressed up young ladies to this salt marsh.
And I wasn’t even kidding.
We really did take them to a salt marsh but it was actually a salt marsh with a restaurant set in its midst. How fun is that?
This is the view from the restaurant’s back deck. (It’s a bit blurry because my lens fogged up from the humidity.)
I especially loved the restaurant’s hardwoods and arches. And just in case you’re wondering, it looks a bit empty because it’s off the beaten tourist path and it also recently changed owners.
Steve being the only man—or, as he said, the thorn among the roses—took his job very seriously of getting all the ladies seated.
The lovely woman sitting beside Steve is Crystal, Victoria’s mom and my good friend. She and Victoria (and Victoria’s little brother, Isaac) drove 700 miles round trip in order to be at this party. They came in Tuesday and had to leave Wednesday morning so it was a long trip and a short stay. But it meant the world to Sarah to have her childhood buddy there for her celebration and we are so very grateful to (a very busy) Crystal for making it happen.
After dinner, I forced the poor girls to pose for yet more pictures. They were very good sports.
Well, maybe they were too good of sports.
You’ll be happy to know that the room that they were carrying on in was empty and that no restaurant patrons were annoyed in the taking of this photo. (It's hard to believe that Sarah's three friends had just met each other a couple hours earlier--they look like they've been friends for years.)
We went from the restaurant to downtown Manteo so that we could walk on the boardwalk beside the bay.
More goofiness commenced.
And then it was back home to wait on the Resident Cook to get the birthday pie ready for consumption.
And for those who so observantly mentioned in the comments area that the Famous Birthday Hat was absent, we are saving that for her actual, real, and genuine birthday on August 23rd.
When the last crumbs had been eaten and the last plate put away, the four girls and Steve and I sat around the table talking and laughing for almost another two hours. (Crystal wasn’t feeling well and went back to her hotel room a little early.)
Our family tradition is to have everyone at a birthday gathering say what they appreciate and like about the birthday person; each of the girls was so dear in what they said about Sarah, the recurring theme being her sweet, affirming, encouraging attitude that she always displays.
When that was over, Sarah added another layer to the tradition when she said, “Now, I’d like to say what I like and appreciate about each of my friends.”
Steve and I sat back in awe as we watched her take the floor with great aplomb. Gone was the somewhat hesitant and unsure presentations of speeches past; Sarah had truly come into her own and her words to her friends were well thought out, funny, affirming, and well spoken. I looked at each of the girls’ faces in turn and saw how deeply her words affected them; in fact, one of her friends even wrote down what Sarah said to her.
I felt tears come to my eyes as we all sat together in that late hour, full of good food, sweet laughter, shared experiences, and new memories. The miracle child glowing beside me should never have made it to that moment, should never have had the privilege of celebrating a Sweet Sixteenth birthday; in fact, her doctors didn’t even think she would live to be ten.
Steve and I caught each others’ eye several times throughout the evening, sharing gratitude for the privilege we had been given to be able to gather with our daughter and her friends and to celebrate—with the greatest joy—the gift of years.