A Very Special Birthday Celebration

A Very Special Birthday Celebration

Celebrating a long life with joy

My father-in-law turned 90 years old last week. I would like to share with you how we celebrated this special event in this post. It was a very special birthday celebration which almost didn’t happen because of sudden changes in travel restrictions. We were so lucky that the weekend strict lockdown in Brisbane didn’t affect us.

Happy 90th birthday Cec
Happy 90th birthday Cec – cheers to a long life

A Positive Outcome From 2020

One of the most positive things about 2020 was nurturing relationships that are important to me.  Normally my life is extremely busy and I feel continually jetlagged from unrelenting shift work as a nurse.  Many of you know that I have been off work since May because of complications during surgery.  Having time on my hands has been a blessing in that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my in-laws. 

I have had time to visit for a chat and a cup of tea, and not stress about needing to be somewhere or do something on my brief days off.  I also have been able to attend all the family gatherings, whereas most of the time I work on public holidays and other special occasions.  This is something I don’t take this for granted.  I feel like I have been blessed with this time.  

Stronger Family Relationships

My relationship with my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law have been the most improved by this.  My sister-in-law and I have been able to plan some lovely family gatherings such as my mother-in-law’s High Tea surprise birthday party.  I could also help with my sister-in-law’s 50th birthday Alice In Wonderland party.  Just in general we have become closer this year, bonded by being married to two lovely men who are definitely the product of their equally lovely parents.

My sister-in-law and I share another thing in common. Both our mothers passed away when we were newlyweds in our early 20s.  I think that it is why we know that we need to create lovely memories during the latter years of our parents-in-laws’ lives.  Every birthday and special occasion has taken on new meaning as we are aware that time with them is limited.

My husband and I with Gwen and Cec, my parents-in-law
My husband and I with Gwen and Cec, my parents-in-law

My Father-in-law’s Special Birthday Celebration

My father-in-law’s 90th birthday is the latest milestone for our family. We celebrated the occasion with a lovely lunch.  The family let me organise the event which I felt very privileged to do – they needed to put some trust in my organisational skills!  I don’t have the same creative, event planning abilities as my sister-in-law (just look at what she did for my mother-in-law’s High Tea and you will see what I mean!).  But I am pretty good at organising things.

The day was a success, and the smiles on everyone’s faces were my reward.  We had the lunch at a club nearby which we have used previously for events.  

My father-in-law celebrating his 90th birthday with his sister and dear friend
My father-in-law celebrating his 90th birthday with his sister Shirley and dear friend June

Celebrating a Long Life

At 90 years old, my father-in-law has been through a lot, including serving in the Australian Army in the Korean conflict when he was a young man.  He has chronic pain from injuries sustained in a fall through a roof, and suffers from COPD.  His mind is still sharp and he and my mother-in-law still drive and live independently in their own home.  Cec is one of the kindest men you will ever meet.  To be able to organise this special birthday for him was an honour.

I was brought to tears when the whole club sang Happy Birthday to him.  I created a collage of photos of him from babyhood until now and he was “tickled pink!”.  He talked about each photo and shared his memories with us.  His sister aged 92 was able to come from Northern New South Wales. A close family friend who has been like an Auntie to my husband and his brother was also able to come.

A collage for a 90th birthday - celebrating the life of my father-in-law Cec
A collage of photos depicting the life of my 90 year old Father-in-law Cec

The Special Birthday Celebration Almost Didn’t Happen

We have been holding our breath leading up to this event. No-one knows whether the border to New South Wales will close again or we’ll be sent back into lockdown.  There was a weekend lockdown as close as Brisbane and Logan because of two new strains of the more contagious UK variant of Covid-19 being detected in Brisbane.  We have been extremely lucky here to avoid it.

Treasure your loved ones as you never know when they will be taken from you.  This year marks 30 years since my mother passed away, and 10 years since my sister died suddenly from an epileptic fit.  It’s hard for me to fathom that so much time has passed.  Many of you know that my mother-in-law is in the final stages of lung cancer so we value any time we have left with her.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:

Shared on Life This Week Linkup on Denyse Whelan’s blog and Coffee Share Linkup on Natalie the Explorer’s blog.

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21 Comments

  1. That was great to be able to lay in such a wonderful celebration for your obviously well-loved father-in-law. So good in the time that’s in it you were able to do it in the first place. Lovely to celebrate such a long and rich life with the most important people.

  2. Such a mixed time of year with memories of ones you’ve lost as well as celebrations of life. It’s great you were able to plan something that wasn’t interrupted by Covid and lockdowns. And 90 years is amazing – he looks happy and healthy as well!

    1. Hi Deborah, that’s so true. It can be very emotional at this time of the year because of anniversaries and birthdays coming up of my loved ones that have passed. We just treasure every moment we have with the people we still have. Cec is in wonderful health considering! Thanks so much for your lovely message, regards Christina

  3. Looks like a wonderful celebration of a long life well lived that you created for your father in law. I can imagine how pleased you must have been that covid restrictions didn’t stop your celebrations Love the photos #lifethisweek

    1. Hi Jennifer, yes we were waiting with baited breath for a long time leading up to the day. My best friend’s daughter has had to postpone her wedding because of Covid-19, so they’re anxiously waiting until next month to be married. There’s so many people in the same situation so we feel very blessed that we could go ahead with his celebration. Thanks so much for commenting, regards Christina

    1. Hi Jo, very true. Luckily none of the guests live in Brisbane! I think Queensland has been extremely lucky – every time there’s a scare we manage to avoid major outbreaks. Hopefully our luck will continue! Regards Christina

  4. How lovely that you could celebrate your FIL’s special birthday Christina. 90 is quite an achievement and being able to gather together is another wonderful blessing in these uncertain times. I’m so grateful to live in a country where our covid numbers are so low – hopefully they’ll get on top of the latest small outbreaks and things over there will settle down again – here in WA we’ve had no community cases for several months – such a great outcome but at the cost of people being unable to travel much.

    1. Hi Leanne, yes I do believe we’ve been very lucky – it definitely could have been much worse. The small outbreaks we have had in Qld were controlled quickly. With the roll-out of vaccines we should be able to get on top of it, but I don’t think we’ll be able to become complacent about it. We were so lucky to be able to celebrate Cec’s birthday together, especially when there are families all over the world who can’t. That made it all the more special. Regards, Christina

  5. This was really lovely Christina and shows your caring attitude at full strength. I’m glad you’ve been able to have more time with your in-laws and I’m sure they’ve enjoyed it too. That was one of the positives to come out of my MIL’s recent illness and subsequent death, as my husband and his sister spent nearly every day of her last 6 months with her. I’m so pleased you were able to have the celebrations too, given all the recent changes with borders and hot spots! Just lovely 🙂 #lifethisweek

    1. Hi Deb, thank you for your lovely comment. I am extremely grateful for the time I have had to spend with my loved ones. It’s good to find the positives even when there has been so much negativity with Covid-19, and my slow recovery. It was such a blessing last year! Regards, Christina

  6. Oh Christina, that was a beautiful and heartfelt post. How fortunate your husband’s family is to have you!! That was a loving and lovely occasion I can see.

    We (my brother and I, along with our kids) organised my father’s 90th birthday 7 years ago as a lunch in the club next to where he lives. I did a powerpoint, we had some memorabilia up and people got to speak about Dad. Here’s the thing…he was so blown away emotionally he could barely speak. He still talks of how it made him feel- humbled and honoured. This was the first, and only celebration of significance without Mum who had died some years before.

    You are right to grasp those times and be grateful. I like how you have made your time away from work be a positive in terms of relationships.

    Thank you for sharing your post in Life This Week, the Monday link up on my blog. Each Monday, there is an optional prompt but you can link up a post (just one) old or new, on or off prompt. Next week’s is 4/51 Cannot. 25 Jan.Hope to see you back here then. Denyse.

    1. Hi Denyse, thank you for your lovely comment. It’s been good to reflect on some of the positives that came out of last year. Your dad’s 90th sounds lovely! Cec went to stand to say a speech but he had to sit down as he was too choked up with emotion! He didn’t want people saying speeches – I think he would have been too emotional, but my husband said a very short speech to thank everyone for coming. The thing that really blew me away was the reaction of the other people in the club. We had several people come up to us and say such lovely things – I think our happiness rubbed off on them! I got really teary when they all sang Happy Birthday. I feel very blessed to still have my parents-in-law, and I’m sure you treasure having your dad at 97! What a wonderful achievement. Regards, Christina

  7. Hi Christina, So lovely and special that you were able to organize and celebrate your father-in-law 90th birthday with the important people in your family, especially with the uncertainty caused by covid-19. Thank you for sharing this with us at #weekendcoffeeshare. I hope you enjoy my blog link-up.

    1. Hi Natalie, yes I did enjoy your Link-up! Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my blog. It was definitely a special occasion, celebrating with much loved people. Regards Christina

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