My parents didn't wish for pomp and circumstances so I turned what was meant to be a large celebration into a very intimate affair: a few relatives and my two best friends, Jan and Vanessa that my mother considers part of the family.
I didn't really told them what was going to happen. They only knew my brother would come with wife, son and dog. I didn't let them know who the other were until the last minute when I urged my mother to get ready - how she likes to take her time and linger...
The afternoon was certainly one of the most relaxing and cheerful we had. The mood was merry and bright, with Jan constantly cracking jokes and Vanessa's daughter Angelina playing with my nephew, thus generating lots of laughters.
"I didn't want anything big, but today was really enjoyable for me!" my father later told me at the end of the day.
It was a brithday celebration week end for them. Two days before he was invited to another surprise celebration. Some of my father's closest friends and colleagues had gathered in secret to organise a little event including a little concert and a dinner at an Indian restaurant. My father hardly suspected anything. I was only asked to reserve the date without a clue about what was going on behind. When he came back home, he was beaming and still touched by the surprise. My mother and he were carrying two enormous flower bouquets, a few presents and two big frames of photos taken during the performance of a ballet at the Théâtre du Châtelet a few years ago.
Although he doesn't like to admit it, such gestures do move him deeply. He had spent the last year feeling left aside as a composer, even if his works still get played in the world. Taking care of my mother certainly took all his energy and he had little left for his music.
Somehow, things began to turn this year. Maybe it was helped by the website I did for him, which allowed people to know what was going on and, especially, where and how to contact him.
During the five weeks of my stay, I saw my father back at his desk, writing more than he has in recent time. I felt so happy to see him at work again. That's where his soul truly belongs. Being a nurse to my mother is definitely not for him. I do admire him for that. At the age of 80, in spite of the obvious changes the body has to go through, he and my mother still carry on. As a son, I pray that they go on like that for a long time.
The afternoon ended with the family, including Jan and Vanessa, having a walk to the park where the children could get some fresh air and play. Vũ An was everybody's centre of attention. He now can walk, run, jump and climb - which makes it a tougher task for my parents to babysit him.
Within a few minutes, dark clouds started to darken the sky and before we could find shelter, it was pouring rain. We took it cheerfully and laughed a lot, running from one tree to another to avoid being soaked. Simple things bring great joy.
I will miss everyone so dearly!