This past March, I turned fifty. In the months leading up to it, I thought quite a bit about how I wanted to celebrate. I still felt too “young” to plan such a thing for myself. Then I thought, “Why shouldn’t I? It’s FIFTY years of my life on this planet – that’s something to mark! I GET to celebrate my own life!”
Then came the decisions to make. Should I have a big party with a bunch of people? Should I exercise my creativity by making all sorts of yummy foods and decorations? Should I hope my family will plan something for me? Should I use all those ideas I found on the internet, with music, dancing, favours, etc.? In the end, I decided that what I really wanted was to quietly celebrate the actual day with my family, and have a small dinner (homemade by me) later that week with a few friends. I’m an introvert, and I knew that if I went for big party with lots of people, I would end up just observing everyone from a corner because of feeling uncomfortable in the spotlight (I also wanted dancing to 80’s music, so my kind son compiled songs for me after I sent him a list of my favourites – he was looking forward to playing DJ because he also loves 80’s music, but then we didn’t end up having music and dancing!)
So on my actual birthday, my family made a big lunch for me (taco salad, which is yummy, and fun for my husband to make) and spoiled me with flowers and chocolate. The roses are from my husband, and the other flowers are from one of my students. My sweet daughter took some updated photos of me, so I could mark the occasion of entering a new decade of my life.
A few months beforehand, I sent out an e-mail invitation to a tiny amount of friends whom I knew I would enjoy and whom I knew would enjoy each other. All but one friend were able to come! I planned what to me is a fancy dinner of homemade food. I made two different types of pasta sauce (one with ground beef; the other with chopped Italian sausage), two different types of cake (one a chocolate pound cake with chocolate ganache; the other a cake [whose flavour I can’t remember – banana??] with lemon icing topped with toasted coconut), and homemade vanilla ice cream with homemade caramel sauce swirled through it. I had planned to make a Caesar salad, but one friend insisted she make it and bring it. The other thing I had planned to make was homemade pasta. But on the day of the party, I was plugging along getting things finished (I had premade the cakes and the pasta sauce); when I realized I had two hours left til guests were coming, and I needed to shower and get ready. Not enough time to do the homemade pasta! I was disappointed, but ran off to the store to buy some boxes of whole wheat pasta. I came home and dumped them all into boiling water and had my shower. I ended up with FFFFAAAAARRRRRRRR too much pasta, but hey, one friend said, “At least you can freeze it for future meals!” 😀
And then, my friends arrived, and I made myself get over the discomfort of being the centre of attention by remembering they were in my home and they were probably hungry, and invited everyone to the kitchen to serve up plates for themselves, before leading them back to the tables we’d set up in the living room (yes, the living room with my beautiful slipcovered-by-me sectional couch and the bright purple square table). Down we all sat to dig into spaghetti and sauce and Caesar salad, and it was sooooooo good, if I do say so myself. 😀 Someone brought wine, so some had wine. And there we all sat, for the next SIX HOURS! The conversation around the table tumbled and spilled from one topic to the next, and while I did end up observing a lot, it was fun for me to watch and listen (and laugh). At one point I announced there was cake and ice cream, and one friend jumped up and insisted on going to get everything so I could stay put. She and some others searched for candles and a lighter, and they all sang to me. It was an overall pleasant six hours of eating and talking and laughing. Perfect for me.
That last photo features my friend Sherri (and me, my husband, and my daughter) who was also at the party – she was taking photos, but didn’t take any of herself, so I’m including this one. 😀 And this one was taken at her house on New Year’s Eve, where she and I danced and laughed for hours to 80’s music (while trying to get others involved – my daughter participated off and on!).
Thank you, friends and family, for celebrating with me. And thank you Susan, who couldn’t come, but who said she’d pray for my year to be a watershed year. It’s turning out that way, and I might blog about it. (Note to blog followers: I’ll sometimes veer into other topics and stories, although crafts will remain a big part because I am a CREATIVE!)