Just a thought… Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. [Author Unknown]
Thank you so much for your birthday wishes yesterday. I am humbled and touched by your kindness.
I thought today, since I am entertaining my dad and younger sister from Kelowna, I’d borrow from the upcoming book Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy (due out Feb. 26 2019 HarperCollins). Why? Because it’s a memory of my favourite birthday. And it happened six years ago yesterday. I’ll be back tomorrow to wrap up the week with you with just about the funniest ad I’ve ever read – from a local buy and sell site. You’ll love it.
Meantime, I hope you enjoy this bit of the book.
One of my fondest memories will always be the day of my 50th birthday. Even though the three of us had spent my 40th in New York City dining at the iconic Rainbow Room in 30 Rockefeller Center on a rare night that there were tables open to the public, dancing to a live orchestra and enjoying one of the finest views and meals we would ever have, it was the homemade surprise she gave me a decade later that will always be at the very top of my list of my life’s favourite moments.
Rob and I had planned a small get-together with our friends from our years with a rock tribute band (I sang, played keyboards and sax; Rob played bass). About twenty of us in all were going to gather at our cottage north of the city to enjoy a casual dinner and birthday cake and to make some music. In the late afternoon, with an hour to go before the first guests were to arrive, the doorbell rang. I immediately went into panic mode. A towel on my head, I’d been finishing up some last minute kitchen chores so I hadn’t dried my hair and was definitely not ready for company!
I went to the door, Rob right behind me, and when I opened it, I couldn’t believe my eyes: it was Lauren, who had come all the way from Ottawa! She and her dad had planned it all: she caught a small plane to the downtown Toronto waterfront, took a cab several blocks to our condo, got the car key that awaited her at the front desk and then drove our car an hour up to the cottage to surprise me.
I stood there at the front door and, like a scene out of I Love Lucy, I just bawled. In fact, yes, I’m quite sure “WAAAaaaaaaah…” was the sound that came out. Ugly cry and all, it was simply the best surprise, the best birthday ever. She stayed just that one night and sang and made music with our friends who had known her since she was a baby, when she’d sleep peacefully in a playpen in an adjoining bedroom as we worked out the harmonies and chords on rock hits for a few hours each week. Growing up around them, she forged close ties with our bandmates and even got an extra grandmother out of the deal. As delighted as everyone was with this surprise visit, I still regard it as a gift I’ll always cherish. It was also the last of my birthdays we marked together. If it had to be our final one, I’m grateful it truly was the best.