The candles were carefully stored away, the Italian music was muted, the dishes, napkins and tablecloth were washed, and the yellow roses and freesia now brighten the kitchen. Oh, and due to good-natured threats about ringing for breakfast in bed, I swiped the bell.
These rituals certainly took less time to complete than the myriad details I had to address that would eventually materialize into an Italian-inspired, one-year anniversary meal.
At my end, everything came off without a hitch. But how do I know it was a success? Both attendees proclaimed the dinner great (I removed empty salad bowls, and the spaghetti and garlic bread had disappeared from dinner plates–another clue), and I was graciously thanked. Afterward, they chilled out watching a movie (at a safe distance from each other, of course!), and I delayed the dessert a bit at their request so their meals could settle (I did buy the cheesecake, but I made a blueberry sauce from fresh blueberries and made whipped cream from scratch!).
My daughter thanked me many times over the next several days, so I know she was truly thrilled with my preparations.
And you know what? It was worth it—times a thousand!