But I did have plans. Big plans, at least for me. And those plans involved friends and family from near and far. So last night, we chatted, we drank, we ate. In short, we had a great time at a very simple Ladies' Night here at home.
It wasn't until clean up time, when I wiped up counters and threw away napkins, that I had the time to reflect on the number of people who came out to celebrate me. Me. Some were local: my book club friends, writing group friends, school friends. Some were not: my sister from Michigan and my good friend Julie (who will now be FRE, Faithful Reader from the East) who goes back with me 22 years. Thinking about every lady who walked through the door last night (including those that couldn't) and what impact they have made on me, almost brought me to tears.
But leave it to my friend Kelsey to make me bring out the handkerchief (yes, Kelsey, I'm singling you out). When I opened my good friend's card and let my eyes roam over the cover, I felt a trickle of salty water begin to form. The cover said, Never ever stop dreaming big crazy dreams. Anyone that knows me at least a bit knows I've been pushing some dreams to the forefront over the last year or so. Well, I should have stopped there, at least for the night and simply savored the cover. Instead, I am a glutton for punishment and went ahead and opened the card. Because I might someday lose that card (despite my best efforts of course) I am reprinting it here:
Happy 40th birthday! This, however, is not a birthday card or a birthday gift...You wouldn't believe me if I told you how long (months!) I've had this card set aside for you. I have been so inspired by and in awe of the journey you have taken with your writing. I see you propelling yourself in the direction of your dreams and I am impressed and proud.
I bought this card before you took your place in the short story contest, before you gave up your class for this semester, but between buying this card and now you've been in steady pursuit of a bigger vision for your life. I am blessed to be a witness.Kelsey's card and Julie's trip tie for best birthday presents, ever.
Thank you for the incredible support and friendship you so selflessly offer me. Thank you for sharing pieces of your journey with me. It is an honor.
Thank you to everyone, but especially those two. Honorary sisters you both are.