I'm not much of a party girl. I think most people perceive me as highly social but the fact is that I have a few close friends with whom I enjoy doing things... dinners out, concerts, hanging out on decks or patio bars listening to music and chatting, etc. Beyond that, however, I don't really have any interest or need to be a part of the Suburban Party Circle.
That said, when the subject of how to celebrate my upcoming "big" birthday arose in various conversations from people in different arenas of my life, things got a wee bit touchy. I made it clear that there would be no surprise parties and that I would rather go away for a weekend & ride my pretty bike somewhere or get a new camera and spend a month documenting the important people and places in my life than have a big bash.
Suggestions were made... girls weekend, bike weekend, tattoo (yeah, really... I love my friends!), fly somewhere to see one of my favorite artists in concert, dinner parties, huge "invite everyone I know or have ever met" blow outs, fly to my hometown for a feast of local delicacies... so many options and different people wanting to do different things, so little time, and so little interest on the part of this not-so-social butterfly.
However, I understand their desire to celebrate in some fashion and so I was willing to compromise and plan a few little things here and there. The celebrations began last night in the form of a dinner party amongst some of my closest friends. I can honestly say I had an amazing time. We laughed harder than I've laughed in weeks and even shed a few tears when my most special friend made a toast that included details of different times we've shared throughout the years. She talked about the grace with which, at a young age, I dealt with my father's death, the strength and inspiration she derives from watching me fight an invisible demon, as well as about some of the more ridiculous predicaments we've found ourselves in throughout the past couple of decades, our former dating philosophy. the parade of vehicles we have owned, trips we've taken, how I was family before I was really family, that I am the one friend she can always count on to keep her grounded when she asks for advice and, above all, about the definition of unconditional love. She also is such a giver that she brought two photo albums full of pictures from our youth so everyone could marvel at our big 80s hair and remark upon the seemingly excessive amount of time we spent in bars and on boats. She gave me a stunning necklace and a bottle of Screw Kappa Napa wine. Have no idea if it's any good but it cracked us up from the bygone sorority rival days... we Thetas weren't too fond of Kappas... and we might have giggled a little when they got thrown off of campus. Ahhhhhh... how I miss the days when these sorts of things were the biggest concerns in our lives.
When my closest friends reach a milestone, I usually make a book for them. I take a well known children's book title, change it to relate to said friend, then write a silly, rhyming something or another related to the milestone and that somewhat mimics the children's book in question. As an added bonus, these books generally include the most horrid pictures of the "main characters" I can find. I, too, am a giver like that. Obviously. Let's see... there was SuzieQ and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Fiance... Mary-locks and her Three Boys... If You Give a Fletch a Tequila Shot... and many, many more. Therefore, an announcement was made by one of the ladies that I really ought to have considered finding more creative friends since this sorry lot was unable to create the magic and didn't want me to have a "cheap" imitation (if you've ever seen one of my creations you'd realize how funny this is). Therefore, not wanting to leave me hanging, they bought me really cheeeeeeesey rhyming birthday cards instead. They were decidedly stupid and hilarious all at once. The cards that is, not the friends... ;o)
Later this week there will be a lunch, another dinner party, and a restaurant outing. There's a girls weekend planned with one of my favorite girls who was unable to be here for the festivities due to pregnancy-related travel restrictions. We intend to make up for it in a very big way.
Despite my hesitation for all the hooplah, I'll try to live in the moments and enjoy the company but, as the festivities die down, I'll be very happy to retreat back into my own time and space and just be me... a year older, a little wiser, a lot thankful for the friends I've chosen along the way, but no more social than before.
I haven't ruled out that tattoo yet, though.