I am 60! It is incredible to me, but I am. It has been a birthday to remember and cherish for the rest of my life. It started the day before, when I received a package in the mail from Jessica. She made me a beautiful plaque, with a handwritten poem about my hands that moved me deeply. She is a gifted writer and I treasure each of the many poems from her. It was sad for both Jess and I that she couldn’t be here to celebrate, due to her work schedule, and the distance. We had a nice long chat in the morning, while Kailyn and David were buying out CostCo!
Kailyn gifted me literally all week with her presence. She was here to help decorate and put in many, many uncomplaining hours to help me prepare for the party. She set up the Snow Village houses, cleaned, baked cookies and creatively managed to take a huge stack of pictures and design an eye-catching display on the frig. I loved it and appreciated her every day for being here. Her final gift of the day was when she and Nick told me they would be my clean up crew! They worked quickly and the kitchen was restored to sparkling while I sat with my feet up and read my wonderful birthday cards!
The party itself exceeded my wildest imagination. It was an eclectic group of family, long time friends from childhood, friends made through my children’s connections, and through church. There were friends formed through book group and those I’ve worked with and exercised with. It was crowded and noisy and I loved it! There were times when I was literally overwhelmed by the sheer crush of bodies in this small house, and deeply touched by the people who came, whether for minutes or hours, to celebrate with me. As I listened to the laughter and the buzz of conversation, I realized my dream when I first thought about having a party had come true. I had gathered friends and family together and no matter what the connections were to me, my friends and family made new connections amongst themselves. While it was an open house, the joy of seeing that many stayed over several hours was reassurance of the rightness of the day . . . people wanted to be here, and wanted to stay. I loved that!
Another bonus for the day was that I had asked people to bring donations for Open House Ministries, a homeless shelter downtown, and the generosity was heartwarming. People came with bags of clothing, food, personal toiletries, cash and checks. Just for fun, I weighed the food and it came to over 136 pounds! It will feel so good to me when we deliver these items on Monday.
This was the first time I ever planned a birthday party for myself, and while it seemed a little self centered, it was the right thing for me to do and the right time. I looked forward to it during the planning and preparation stage, and I will look back forever with precious memories of those who who able to share my day with me. There were many sweet surprises and it felt good to bask in the love of those I have loved and cared about over my 60 years of living here in Vancouver.
My heart and soul feel satisfied, and it is good.