When my daughter and husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday I thought about it for a long time. Birthdays are important to me. I've had a bowling party, complete with embroidered bowling shirt and big shin digs on my lawn. This year, though because of the really recent loss of my sister, I needed something more. Something more personal, something that meant something to me, something that celebrated what it really means to turn 43 - and that is friends.
I told my daughter and husband to go to Home Depot and purchase 10 mums. Those mums would be delivered the Sunday prior to my big day to 10 of my friends. They arrived home on Saturday with a trunk of flowers - for me and my friends. The list had been made, and although not everyone that I care about was on it (I had made the 10 people rule to make th flower buying manageable), we were off on Sunday afternoon to deliver mums and notes to 10 women I care very much for in the town that we chose to live in 9 years ago. It was as much a celebration of women and friendship as it was honing in on why I chose this path, and this very funky small town, to bring my family to live. It was a decision that needed celebration.
What I thought would take 2 hours took 6. Each friend showed me parts of their home, sent me off with small treasures they had been saving for me, shared tea, and shared some of their lives you can only say in person. I don't see enough of these women often enough - which is my fault. I get very caught up in the myth of busy. What I wanted to reconfirm in myself through this adventure celebrating friendship was that making time for it mattered. It does. A lot.
Later, when my husband was driving our daughter back to her apartment over an hour away, I was in the bath and it dawned on me that I have friends. Real friends. You may already know that you have friends, but I haven't had that feeling since high school - I haven't allowed myself to take the time to honor that feeling. I have lost friends by being a crappy one and now, at 43, I realize it takes energy, a sense of adventure and valuable time to make and keep friends.
I know that they are the greatest gift I will ever have - today on my 43rd birthday - and forever more.
Key: 1. Paige making up the 10 flowers to be delivered, 2. Dee, 3. Linda, 4. Jana, 5. Carol, 6. Kathy, 7. Kath, 8. Loretta, 9. Peggy, 10. Jean and lastly, my very best friend 11. Paige
Note: There were SO many more that I could have, wanted to bring flowers to, but I kept my number at 10. This may just become my tradition - so who knows you might get me dropping on your doorstep on a Sunday afternoon to celebrate friendship. Until then, thank you to everyone who has celebrated with me over the years - I am starting to get why it all matters.