September 22, 2011
As my friend described her ideal 50th birthday party, she paused, then said slowly and clearly, ” I don’t want any speeches. Really. I would worry about it all day. It would ruin my birthday!” I smiled. This comment was directed to me. I have become a serial speech giver.
Then the moment came. It was perfect, she had just blown out the candles and everyone was looking at her. This amazing woman hesitated and it was my moment.
I sat there, thinking, thinking of the 80 people who had come to celebrate in her beautiful home full of homemade food (it took her weeks to make it all).
I looked at the couch, the place I sat as she honored me with my last baby shower. My gift was a quilt she created with paintings from all of my friends. It is my most cherished possession.
I watched this beautiful, athletic, graceful, earth mother, sailor, entrepreneur greet everyone at her party, this person who sews prom dresses in a day and the first person I’ve ever known who made their own crackers. I thought about her adventures, like when she sailed off into the sunset for a world trip with her husband, sunk the boat, and made the best of it with more adventures. The stories of living abroad, of working with special children.
I took time to talk to her family and other friends, I was trying to find out more information. I had assumed since she was the oldest of five that she must be bossy. I asked around, but no, Pauline has always been kind, generous, and intelligent. Instead of getting the dirt, I heard more stories about her caring for her siblings, like the time she took her sister to the principles office and demanded they move her up to the “smart” class.
I sat watching thinking how lucky we all were to be in her circle, to be the recipients of her thoughtfulness. I watched her father smile with pride and I wished her mother had been there in person , not just in spirit.
I thought about how lucky her children were to have her attention full-time, her friends to have her as a coffee companion, her husband to have the love of his life and her family to have her as a rock.
I thought all of this, I did, as she blew out those candles, as that magic moment came and went in silence. I keep my mouth shut, it was painful.
For you I bit my lip at your party, but you have no jurisdiction over my blog. 🙂
Happy, Happy Birthday Pauline, we are all a little bit better because of you.