December 5, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Advent musings: Looking back and looking forward

Shirley Vogler MeisterEarlier this year, I received a note from my daughter, Donna, and her husband, Roby, in Cleveland. She wrote, “Now that I am a Mom … I understand why you say that being a Mom is your greatest accomplishment.”

She and her sisters—Diane, who lives in Plymouth, Ind., and Lisa, who resides in Nashville, Tenn.—have expressed similar sentiments through the years. They know we love them without bounds, and we know their love is sincere. They have shown it in countless ways, especially when there have been family, medical or other crises from time to time.

More than that, we can communicate with them in their adulthood in satisfying and worthwhile ways, and they always keep in touch.

However, we also learned that they can be “sneaky,” just as Paul and I were during their childhood years when we kept secrets from them, especially during end-of-the-year holidays. Parents know all the tricks when it comes to keeping Christmas secrets from children!

This summer, however, our daughters proved they are also masterful with secrets. On July 12—one day after my birthday and two days after a grandson’s birthday—Paul and I and some of our family members went to celebrate with a double-birthday dinner at the Athenaeum’s Rathskeller.

Upon arriving, we found more than 30 others gathered there and shouting, “Surprise! Happy 50th anniversary!”—or something equivalent.

Paul and I were stunned because our golden wedding anniversary wasn’t until Aug. 27. Our daughters chose to surprise us early because of other family commitments later that month.

As it turned out, this was perfect. At the time of our actual anniversary, we needed to be elsewhere, too.

Hometown-related family and friends, including some of our original wedding attendants, plus some longtime local friends helped us celebrate early. Some guests came from faraway states.

Although I am a writer, I actually struggle for words to describe our emotions so I will simply say that “our hearts soared.”

What our daughters planned for us was an amazing success! As we ate and visited with everyone, photographs of our wedding and the times between then and now were displayed on a screen.

Even our wedding colors were used for the décor and cake—and our wedding album was there to view, too. (Lisa, who masterminded much of this event, took the album without our knowledge when she also made an unexpected visit on Father’s Day.)

On Thanksgiving, we gave thanks for our blessings, including family members and friends. Now into the Advent season, we continue to thank God for our wonderful family and friends.

We are also grateful to have spent 50 years as members of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. Our daughters attended the parish school and Bishop Chatard High School.

The future is bright!

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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