I spent my birthday exactly as I wanted: I took my daughter to the Home Depot's monthly kids workshop where she made a miniature sled (and drove those nails in like a BOSS); I wore the black birthday tutu at yoga class; I enjoyed lunch with some of my favorite women; and I watched the Kennedy Center Honors (among the honorees: Sting!!!) on the DVR [nearly] uninterrupted.
I checked #37 off my 40/40 list. The first item on the first day of my year-long celebration – Eat at The Boat House in Forest Park.
I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than a low-key lunch surrounded by some of my dearest girlfriends. I'm usually hesitant to bring together friends from different circles of life because of the possibility that they won't have anything in common or they won't hit it off. There was no need to worry today.
Laurie, Christa, Tracy, and Nicole toasted me, the year to come, and my new decade. My fancy lemonade was delicious! Then our conversation took off. We talked for nearly four hours - nonstop. I laughed and cried as we caught up on each other's lives. These women listened to my stories. They let me ask questions and gave gentle, firm, reassuring answers. Encouragement and love flowed from them and landed in my open hands and open heart.
Right in the middle of the nearly empty boat house, these women listened as I read a rough draft of an essay I've been working on. They gave this writer fantastic feedback, suggestions on what to add, and Christa made the outlandish suggestion that it should be the basis of a novel! I am nourished by the safe space they create for me each time I am in their presence. Their love frees me to be myself and to explore whatever topic seems to be pressing at the time. They are individually, and today were collectively, an invaluable, generous sounding board. I am deeply grateful.
To be honest, I was underwhelmed by the restaurant. I think I'd like the ambience more if I sat on the deck during a summer evening overlooking the water and Forest Park. But I was overwhelmed by the way these precious friends gifted me with an afternoon in the midst of busy, full lives so soon after the holidays. Their interest in each other as important parts of my life touched me. The best part was as the afternoon came to an end they hugged each other and declared that they wanted to get together again. What a gift! I am one very blessed forty-year-old woman.