Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to Us All

So, this is what 50 feels like—stiff muscles, sore throat, general feeling of unsettlement (a new word, maybe?). I woke up yesterday morning feeling exhausted because I had hardly slept the night before, unable to turn off my stimulated brain. And as the day wore on, I felt worse so that by bedtime, I was sure I had the flu. Even my skin hurt, which is the insufficient phrase I use to describe that feeling you get when you do actually have the flu, and every inch of you feels just wrong.

This morning, the “unsettlement” feeling continues, but I have a full day ahead of being lazy. Working backwards…

My 50th birthday was this past Thursday, and I spent the day cleaning my house, for the most part. I mopped everything I could reach with the mop and dusted and tidied up, which is why my back muscles are scowling the scowl of abuse. I talked to a few dear friends, and I waited in anticipation of the party to be held the next day.

On Friday, I herded the animals into the car and dropped them off with the boarder. I picked up my sisters, who I hadn’t seen since November, did last-minute things around the house, went for a swim with my sisters, watched them and Husband and Emily do things like organize the patio and make the centerpieces and decorate the yard, and I put on a dress. I don’t often wear dresses or skirts, but I’m in the process of bringing them back to my wardrobe. I wore my favorite perfume, Chanel, for the occasion, too. I don’t often wear perfume either, because Husband once told me he thinks I have something in my chemical makeup that makes all perfume smell like bug spray, but this was my birthday celebration, doggonit, and bug spray be damned. I’m bringing Chanel back, too!

When the caterer was finished, and the guests had arrived, I stood back and contemplated the scene—our home turned into a restaurant filled with my favorite people (a few were missing, unfortunately)—and I could only smile with the satisfaction of knowing life can be good.

We all mingled with drinks and passed appetizers that were absolutely lovely. There was lots of giggling and conversation and introductions because I have a variety of friends who don’t all know each other, and my Georgia sisters had to meet them all. And guests repeatedly said the event was lovely. Best party ever, even.

At the appointed time, we were seated for dinner—a lovely fresh-greens salad with goat cheese; the entree of grilled filet mignon with filo-wrapped prawn, fingerling potatoes and green beans; and bread with various butters and oils. And all the while, a guitarist, Adam Sarata, performed beautifully for us. Friends broke into their treat bags with carefully chosen quotes, and they made noise and a mess of bubbles as I had wanted. And they were all smiles, as I had wanted as well, because as some of them said, how often do we get to do this sort of thing, and we should definitely do it more often.

After dinner, we went into the house for cake and a champagne toast, and Husband, with his lovely tribute, and my friends with theirs made me cry. I won’t go into the specifics there because it’s all between me and these amazing people I have come to know and am so grateful to have in my life. I’m telling you, in all of my phases of life, I have never had such a group of friends—I have lost contact with most people I have known since before my current phase of life, but when I looked around that room at the people I hold so dear and hope to love and be loved by from here on out, I was overwhelmed.

I have a sister-in-law who gets a little toasted from time to time and uses the phrase, “I feel warm toward humanity” to describe the glow. I was not toasted at my birthday party, but I did definitely feel warm toward humanity, particularly the humanity who had gathered all in one place that evening. So, happy birthday to me, and happy birthday to them and happy birthday to you whoever you are who might stumble in here by accident or by link. I love you all.

A bouquet from Sallie and appetizers.
Phil and Sherrie filling the yard with bubbles.
The Wells girls—Karen, Me, Myra
Backyard restaurant—what a great idea!
Grinning at Katy and enjoying my dear friends.

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