Our first annual LIVERversary dinner will go down in history as one of the most memorable nights of my life for multiple reasons.
1) We hit a GIANT milestone for Bea
2) It was the last Sunday night dinner with Dad.
Jordan & I hosted our immediate family at Enoteca Emilia to celebrate Bea hitting the 1 year mark post transplant. It was an incredible and easy breezy dinner and I was so thankful we waited until July 17th to have it so my sister and her new husband could be there (they got back the night before from their honeymoon).
July 17th was one of my best days.
The night before, my parents watched Bea and Patrick and kept them overnight so we could all have a fun night out. On Sunday morning (July 17th), Jordan and I picked up some breakfast and headed over to my parent’s house to hang and grab Bea. My mom was running errands but we ended up hanging with my dad from 8:30am to about noon and my younger sister showed up with her husband because they got back the night before from their honeymoon.
The five of us just sat around and caught up about how fun the wedding was, mom and dad’s drive back from Florida, Carolyn and Zack’s honeymoon, etc. It was SO nice to be together and my dad was BEAMING that he got to hang with Carolyn now that she was back.
That night, we celebrated Bea at Enoteca. We had menus made, placecards, party favors, and flowers. Although it was only 10 adults and 2 kids, I was so proud to host our first annual LIVERversary dinner.
After everyone arrived and we all chatted and had drinks and apps, we sat to start ordering. Everyone had a special seat at the table but I arguably had the best – right in between Bea and Dad.
Before everyone started eating, my Dad led us in prayer. He stood and spoke for Bea. He went on to thank Bea’s parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends for helping her make it to this milestone. It was truly touching.
All throughout dinner Dad would grab my hand and look over to say “we are so lucky Bea is here” or “I can’t believe it’s been a year” or “I am so proud of you”, “I am so proud of Bea”, etc etc. It was like he was telling me everything he was thinking as it came to his brain. And I’m so glad he did.
After dinner they brought out the 3 tiered eggless cake I made. It was good but dense. VERY dense. And the pieces were HUGE. One thing I know is that my dad is not a big cake person. Not a huge lover of sweets but I looked over at him and he was eating the whole entire piece. Most people just had a bite or two (I didn’t blame them…I hardly ate my piece too!) but Dad knew how much effort I put into that freaking cake and he ate every last bite. I remember thinking “of course you are eating the whole thing to make me feel good. That is so something you would do.”
Once everyone cleared out, I sent Jordan home with Bea so I could finish taking down decorations and my parents stayed to help me out. As we were walking to the car they handed me a bag and said “this is for Bea”. I opened the box to find a beautiful necklace with a several pearls on it.
“We are going to add one pearl each year to celebrate Bea’s LIVERversary”.
I was so touched and so happy that Bea would have this very special necklace from her grandparents to continually remind her of her strength and perseverance year in and year out.
Little did I know that the necklace would hang around my neck just days later as a constant reminder of that moment with my parents. Just me and them. All three of us standing in that parking lot just so happy that we reached this milestone together.
Overall, the night was extra special. I even just found out this week that after 4+ years, the restaurant has closed. Seems only fitting that this dinner will never be one to duplicate again.
My Dad told a friend a couple nights before the dinner that the last 2 weeks were the best of his life. He spent over a week in his favorite place in the world with his favorite people, his youngest daughter got married to an incredible man in such a special location, Bea had made it to her 1 year mark and was stronger than ever, and the rest of us were in great spots.
I like to think he was so happy that his heart just burst.
Although all of ours burst at the same time his did, we find comfort in knowing he was a happy, happy Pappy.
[Everyone went home to with a paint kit. For Bea’s new room we are doing a gallery wall with everyone’s interpretation of the #BEAstrong logo 🙂 ]
[And so so thoughtful. One of my friends sent a round of mother/daughter mocktails to the table 🙂 ]
[Just borrowing this from Bea for awhile….]