Thursday, May 2, 2013

Birthday Bests

Today's my birthday, so I'm flipping the pages in my mental birthday album to favorite celebrations.

Best birthday gift I've given myself:  a ticket to see Mikhail Baryshnikov dance in Denver. Seeing a virtuoso perform is like being transported to another level of existence.  I was awed, inspired, and so grateful to see the power and beauty of his dancing in person.

Best party: When I was sixteen my mother arranged a surprise party for me. I missed some obvious clues and was astonished. I felt like queen for the day, honored to be celebrated.

Best gift I received:  a three speed black Huffy bicycle.   For an adolescent, it was like having my own car! I could get all over town, haul my school books and violin in the baskets on either side of the back tire. My friends and I took long rides in the countryside; it gave me freedom/independence.

Birthday milestones: By 37 I worked for Continental Airlines and found my dream job (except for lifting heavy suitcases and dealing with very cranky customers.)
     The year I turned 44 I began my second career as a teacher (a lot more work without the perks, but drenched in significance.)
Notre Dame Cathedral, paris
photo from Wikipedia
Best out-of-town birthday: I celebrated my 44th birthday in Paris with my younger daughter and my mother-in-law.  The week was packed with visits to the main attractions, but also full of moments of just living like Parisians in a beautiful city bursting with spring flowers, and fantastic restaurants the size of a family dining room. I bought fresh ranunculas from a street merchant to grace the hotel room. One night my mother-in-law and I wandered and shared a chocolate gateau (cake) at a sidewalk cafe. She declared it the best she'd ever eaten. I sat on a sunny bench at the jardin de Luxemborg and watched the families playing in grassy areas reserved for children by age group.  I've relived that trip in my mind many times. 

Truly, the birthdays I most love to celebrate are not my own, but those of my children and my grandchildren. One daughter and her son share the same birthdate- two in one! 

This year I am with them all in Denver, which seldom happens. I plan on a big cake and some games for the kids, then grandma photos. Maybe this will be the best one of all. 

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