Who says you can only celebrate big on the milestone years?
For over a year my high school classmates and I danced and WA-HOO!ed our way through our 50th birthdays. Now all of the stragglers (those babies of the class of '77) have caught up while others are moving on to 51.
But the parties haven't stopped. Why should they? We're still grateful for another year of friendship...of life. We're trying to make up for years and years of ignoring each other and ourselves. In that spirit, we just use birthdays as an excuse to get together, so who cares what the number is?
I'm not just talking about the people I ran around with in high school. The years have melted the lines separating us...now we just see ourselves as one big family. We are all still very different in many ways, just as before, but the differences aren't barriers now - just conversation starters.
I guess you could also say we're like a huge puzzle and we're doing our best to gather up all the pieces that have been scattered over the years. Some have been lost for good - and that adds a touch of desperation and urgency to the celebrations.
This past weekend a bunch of us met to celebrate Donna...one of the "gems" I've rediscovered in my life. We surprised her by pitching in on a gift card for this beautiful Polish pottery that she collects - and that she gave to us on her birthday last year! She is just a giver; it's difficult for her to receive and be the focus of attention, but we're teaching her. Here she's showing her daughter the letter explaining the gift...
She's come a long way; it was tough on her, but she accepted the gift, the cake and all of the attention we lavished on her with grace and her beautiful, impish sense of humor. For example, she insisted on a picture of herself surrounded by all of the guys...oh, see the tall guy in the back, ruffling Donna's hair? That's Robert, one of the "puzzle pieces" we haven't seen in over fifteen years - and he was living right down the freeway from several of us! It was so great to have him join us.
Donna graciously let the rest of us girls get in the next picture...
As usual, when we get together, the years disappear...10, 13, 17, 21, 50, 51...numbers don't matter. We feel the same on the inside as we did back then, and in our eyes, we look the same as well.
Yesterday I just happened to come across this video posted on Midlife Bloggers (a great site, by the way)...it's a parody of Taylor Swift's song "Fifteen" by songwriter Batya Diamond, adapted to speak for those of us who have traveled far beyond fifteen. Of course, it made me think of my life...of Donna's birthday celebration and being surrounded by the decades-long constancy of those friendships. Listen and tell me what it makes you think of...