This weekend is all about family. To be more specific today is a special day for the family - it is my mother-in-law’s 84th birthday. She is the matriarch of the family. She was the oldest of 9 children - there are 5 children including her remaining. She is loved and cherished and the whole family is very proud of her.
The celebrations for her wonderful life started yesterday afternoon. Friends and family dropped by her home for a slice or 2 of “vlaai” and coffee or tea. Vlaai is a traditional pie from the province of Limburg - in the south of the Netherlands. There are many varieties. of vlaai - so everyone can choose their favourite. I hope you get an idea from these almost empty plates.
The visits from friends and family were spread over several hours. As a result, it was not one large party and therefore not too busy for my mother-in-law. There was a time slot to suit every agenda and she had a chance to spend time with everyone.
My family and I drove to the south of the country. We were the last to arrive in the evening. My children could then spend quality time with first cousins and their Oma (Dutch for grandmother). We stayed overnight. It was nice to observe the teenagers interacting with their grandmother and asking questions.
I saw a corner with present; flowers, plants, books, perfumes, lotions etc. However, this was my favorite bouquet.
After the vlaai, no one was hungry but a charcuterie board was served for anyone still wanting something to nibble on.
Not a sharp foto - it was a busy time 😀
Soon it was midnight, the grandchildren sang the most popular Dutch birthday song for their grandmother.
Lang zal ze leven, lang zal ze leven, lang zal ze leven in de Gloria, In de Gloria, In de Gloria.
Hip, hip, hip, hoera! Hip, hip, hip, hoera!. Hip, hip, hip, hoera! .”
*English translation *
Long shall she live, Long shall she live, Long shall she live in the gloria, In the gloria, In the gloria.
Hip, hip, hip, Hooray, Hip, hip, hip, Hooray,Hip, hip, hip, Hooray.
If you are ever at a Dutch birthday celebration, be sure to tell the celebrant - Gefeliciteerd or Congratulations. Interestingly, in the Dutch tradition, not only the person celebrating is congratulated but all loved ones as well; that is because they nurtured the celebrant thus causing him/her to have a long life.
After all the kisses and hugs, we had a lovely sleep. This morning, we started the day to the sound of a rooster crowing - yes - we are in a village. We set the table for a celebratory breakfast. There was something on the table for everyone’s tastebuds.
Breakfast with my mother-in-law always feels like a celebration though; as we do not visit often since the start of the pandemic-every meeting matters. Sitting down to a nice long breakfast is one of the joys of the weekend. It is a time to enjoy-there is no haste.
With this view of the backyard ,
our conversations were as pleasant as the setting.
The children continued their vibrant conversations - with their grandmother as the center of attention. They love to hear about the old days. When my son asked her how she felt at 84, she answered,
“How I look might match my age - but I do not feel like that.”
That was good news. Thankfully, my mother-in-law is in good health and is always cheerful and active. She lives alone and is very independent, driving her car and attending to her activities, such as yoga and sculpting.
Sculptures made by my mother-in-law
On a wall by the dining table are 2 well-known bird drawings.
One read “ Life is short ….and then you die”.
It might seem morbid but it is factual. For me, it is a reminder to enjoy and not waste too much time because time is life. Hoping to have a fruitful and happy life just like my mother-in-law.
Hope you are having an amazing Sunday!!
All photo photos are taken by me with my iPhone 6S