Wednesday, July 27, 2005
12:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Pacific Beach by Crystal Pier
Thank you to all of our friends and family who were able to make it to Brittany's Sweet 16 Birthday Party - A Celebration of Her Life.
The day was filled with laughter and love and pink balloons. Brittany's family, parents, siblings, step dads and friends were all at hand to celebrate our beautiful butterfly's life.
The canopy was decorated with balloons and banners and tables overflowed with "power food for teens". Chips and dip and yummy pizza was had by all. Coolers filled with ice water, soda and juice were a welcome treat for a day at the beach.
The "Sweet 16" decorations were adorable and Brittany's Dad, Tony lit 16 torches to represent 16 candles on her birthday cake. He arranged them in a "circle of love" to enclose us all as one family gathered together for one very important person.
Star's friend, Valerie brought live butterflies for the family members to release and it was beautiful and inspiring to watch them flutter away. Star read a poem for her daughter that brought tears to our eyes and then everyone had a chance to pick a cherry or a piece of cheese and send it out to sea for Brittany.
The memory box was lovingly crafted by Star, Melinda (her lifetime friend from Indiana), and Brittany's sister Baylee. Painted a precious pink and decorated with trinkets and stickers, emblems and treasures, it truly is a wonderful place to hold a girl's memories.
One of the most awe-inspiring moments came when a single butterfly found it's way back to us after an hour or two of being released!! Star and Tony were able to hold the butterfly in their hands and we were lucky to get some pictures of it. We all knew it was our dear Brittany coming back to her mom and dad to say thank you for her Sweet 16 Party and that she loved them for what they did for her. Words escape me now as I try to express how truly magical that moment was.
As the sun-kissed children played in the sand and the teens shared stories of laughter and fun times with their dear friend, Brittany, preparations were being made to light the candles of the birthday cake. Star and Tony gathered everyone around as they lit the candles. Everyone sang out loud, "Happy Birthday Dear Brittany, Happy Birthday to you!" It was a special moment for all of us. Then her brothers, Geoffrey and Cameron and her sisters, Baylee and Giavanna blew the candles out for their Sissy and made a secret wish.
After everyone ate a delicious piece of cake, we sat around for a while and just reminisced about the good times. Star showed us a T-Shirt that she bought for Brittany as a gift for her Sweet 16 - it was the color of Army Khaki Green with the words "At Ease Boys" on the front - too cute!!
Soon after, Brittany's teen friends slowly started making their way home as their rides showed up to get them. Some even backpacked by bus and needed to get home before dark. It was sad to see them go, but so wonderful of them to take the time to join us for her birthday.
As we started cleaning up, Star took the pink balloons over to her two daughters, Baylee and Gia and they shared a sweet mother/daughter moment together in a tiny huddle of love. They emerged as one spirit and the three of them let the pink balloons float up to the sky in remembrance of their beloved Brittany.
Four little children played in the sand until the last piece of trash was picked up and all the party gear was packed in the trucks. They wanted to cherish every moment of that day - until the very last moment - just playing in the sand with each other, spending precious time together, and making sweet memories. It makes me think once again that we have a lot to learn from the little ones, don't we?
Happy Sweet 16th Birthday Lil' Star - we love you and miss you.
There are 88 photos in this gallery, some take time to load. The final photo is of Gia, Greg and Kayti. Enjoy!