It was my birthday last week. I am fourtyfour years old, and I love every bit of it. I am at an especially content point in my life, one where – if I was to die- I could happily say that I have lived well, and (depending on the circumstances of my death, I guess), died happy.
A week ago, I was given my first ever surprise birthday party, by my own daughter. Surprises are a favourite thing of mine to put on. In years of raising children, I have become a master at orchestrating magic. However, I have never been the recipient of such efforts. My daughter sounded reluctant when she agreed to cook a birthday dinner for me the day I returned from California; she said she’d cook it at her place, and I could come by and collect her and the food to carry to my house. It was absolutely delightful to find myself in a state of disbelieve, when I walked into her kitchen to help carry food to the car, and discovered instead my closest friends assembled there, yelling “SURPRISE!”.
I actually pinched Seth’s cheek to make sure he was real. Damian, who is very serious about his sommelier credentials, had chosen several beverages, on top of my dear friend Debra handing me a tequila with lime juice before I could even comprehend what was happening, and it is thanks to her daughter Ceilidh that we have these pictures. My dear partner helped orchestrate the whole thing in all its secrecy and complicated negotiations. Natalie had planned for months, and cooked for a couple of days. The several-course meal she continued to serve was outstanding, including the most amazing gluten-free, sugar-free, raw vegan chocolate torte anyone had ever tasted!
The icing on the cake, or perhaps in lieu of icing on the cake, came Natalie’s birthday letter. I had always written long, letter-like cards to my children on the occasion of marking a new year in their lives – I thought it important to reflect. This one came to me after this eldest child of mine had spent six months abroad (which had come on the heels of having quit university two years in, for all the right reasons). I am showing you page two here, because I think it could be helpful to future patents:
The reason you get this blog-post with a week’s delay is because I really wanted to share how much this day and this letter meant to me, but I also didn’t want to just post the letter to flatter myself. Trust me: I has not always been such a rosy relationship between either one of my daughters and me. But I think it may be worthwhile to note that my daughters seem to have profited from some dramatic choices I have made: to leave a relationship (after seven years of deliberation) that was not healthy, to become an entrepreneur, to believe in what I love and what I deserve as a woman and as an artist in the world, and – these days- to persevere in trying to make a go of that – to live as an artist full time, producing hand-made things of beauty and elegance, that bring joy to people’s lives.
I am grateful for having had the good fortune to bring two wonderful beings into this world, whom I love both more than my own eyelids. I am grateful for Natalie’s offering to me in honour of my birthday. Thank you, Natalie – it takes a lot to plan such a thing so well. I love my daughters more than anything else in the world. May you both find the kind of contentment that I feel (almost) every day, despite the stresses of entrepreneurship.
I have so much appreciation for the richness in my life, my wonderful two daughters, and the sweet friends and my new bigger crazy lovely family. Thank you!!