Last month, my mom hit the big 50! And I’m sure she just loves me sharing this with everyone!!! Every year, my entire family spends a week at a timeshare condo on Fort Myers Beach, Florida. My family has been going since my mom was a teenager, my grandparents have owned there pre-construction. To say it’s a tradition is an understatement. I am 29 years old and haven’t missed a year yet, even when my oldest was only a couple weeks old. Most of the time, we are there the first week in July, but every now and then, depending on how the calendar falls, we are there later in the month (we own week 27, whenever that happens to be).
This year was our first year in a stretch of a few years that we went to the beach late. This meant we did not get to spend July 4th at the beach, but we were there for my mom’s birthday, which happened to be her 50th! Around October of last year, my sister and I decided it would be awesome to do a surprise 50th birthday party for our mom. We started with the idea of doing one at the house, but then decided that it would be more fun to do it at the beach since we would be there on her actual birthday!
We took to pinterest to look for ideas, and I found a few things that led me to a theme of “50 Rocks” because her favorite music is 80s rock. So we ran with that. I designed some invitations with a guitar on it, and we used the colors red, black, and white for a few reasons. Black is usually a color used for 50th birthday, but I didn’t want all black decorations. Those three colors were also very prominent with a lot of the rock themed decoration that we saw, and of course, those are the North Fort Myers High School colors which is where we all graduated from and mom is a teacher there now. It just all seemed to fit.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find too many rock themed decorations, so mostly just did the colors. My sister found a banner to hang over her condo door, and we put streamers around the balcony, in front of the elevator, and put some balloons around. The way our condo is laid out, there are 6 condos on each floor, and this year my family owns the entire 6th floor (plus more), so we did the party on the 6th floor. Since we invited only a couple people who weren’t staying at the condo, we asked everyone to bring a dish to share, which was great since we had over 50 people there! I made my taco dip, my go-to for occasions that require bringing a dish to share.
One of my favorite things that we decided to have was a memory jar. Most of the people there have known my mom for a long time, and have many fun stories with her. I’ll be honest, I completely forgot about this until we were already at the beach, so we had to improvise a little bit. I asked the front office for some paper, and a marker to use, and when we told them what for they were so happy to help. As I said, my family has been owners here for decades, they all know us and love us, and were so helpful with the party! I cut the paper into thirds so they were smaller strips, and grabbed a plastic drink pitcher from our kitchen at the condo to use. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it worked. Everyone wrote notes with their favorite memories with my mom and left them for her to read later. I read through them as well and she got everything from sappy meaningful memories to hilarious events.
I also made a poster that had a lot of things from 1967 such as top movies, what things cost that year, top news stories, etc. My grandparents made a poster of photos of mom from when she was a baby through high school and her wedding photo. We hung these up on the wall as well with the other decorations.
Overall, it was a great party, and as far as I know everyone enjoyed themselves. We had a lot of great food, so much laughter, and the company of some of our closest family and friends. My mom said she was not surprised that we were celebrating her birthday at the beach, because we do that every year (along with the other birthdays right around that time), but the party itself surprised her. She wasn’t expecting us to make such a big deal of it, decorate, have all the food, music, and a few friends come out for her birthday. I’m glad we were able to pull off what we did with the limited resources we had and an area that wasn’t really easy to decorate.