My birthday is at the end of December, which is one of many reasons why, when I walked into the 8th Street Winecellar last Wednesday night, I was completely shocked that my friends were throwing me a surprise party. It took me several full minutes to begin to comprehend what was going on, even well after people started saying "surprise," and "happy birthday" (the latter made no sense to me -- it wasn't anywhere near my birthday). Finally, someone sat me down and handed me a bag with a few gifts in it. I reached in to find a bright red potholder (yay! new potholder!), and inside was a little book. I started to read. "Surprise!" it read, "happy early birthday :)" Astounded, I continued to read. The next page made me lose it completely: "You are loved." The rest of the book was gravy at that point. Life gets busy. I see my friends less and less, especially those who have gotten married and/or had children. I can feel very alone at certain points. But not only did my friends plan a surprise party for me, they chipped in and over 35 people gave me money to help offset the costs of my upcoming kitchen renovation. As I kept reading the book, slowly realizing what was going on, I lost it again. There were pages from each person/couple who donated, and the ones who attended the party wrote a note on their page. The others will have to wait until I see them in person to fill in their pages. My friends are amazing.
The next day, I sent various texts to friends who contributed, thanking them again for their generosity and for the complete suprise. One friend said the kindest thing to me:
You are one of my best friends and you have always been there for me. You are also one of the most selfless and generous people I know. So many people feel this way about you. They/we might not be present all of the time or as much as we might want to be or you might want us to be, but for me, you are on my mind more than you realize. This gift to you is a mere token of the enormous amounts of appreciation and love we have for you. We are so lucky to have you in our lives! And we can't wait to see the joy on your face when you cook meals in your new kitchen!!!
The thing that stood out in what she said was the fact that I feel the same way about many of my friends -- even when I don't see people as often as I'd like, they are there in my mind and in my heart. I need to be better about letting them know. Thanks to all of you, and I can't wait to keep cooking for you!! xoxoxo