Mar 31, 2011

Going 44 in a School Zone

Alone on my birthday. Kids and wife away in Chicago, bringing the double-whammy of not getting to hang out in the school parking lot - my main social fix of the day. But the universe is like a big Newfoundlander dog - it not only comes when you call, it knocks you over with abundant love and licks you all over with slobbery affection.

My family not only found multiple occasions to bake cakes and celebrate me before flying away, but made clever arrangements for a group of friends to sneak up through the back woods and surprise me with a joyous Happy Birthday this morning. Four other friends also drifted by during the day - I felt more hugged than Theodore Roosevelt's bedtime companion.

These days there's so many ways to not be isolated. Phone calls from family, inlaws, friends from African days and Vancouver days and many other days, and two wonderful voicemail songs that I so frustratingly can't identify (the caller nor the key). Facebook wall postings. Emails.

Then the good ol' fashioned food traditions. A good friend at one business meeting had baked cookies and chilly (chile? chillie?). Crystal made a fabulous vegan Asian meal and decidedly less-wholesome chocolate cake.

Beyond the different ways to connect, I celebrate the diversity of people who reached out today (and all days, but especially today when I'm allowed to Demand it). Fellow parents from my kids' lives. Neighbours. Friends from my work in Africa. Dear Vancouver landlord-friends. Professional colleagues. Wwoofers past and present. Mother, brother, inlaws. Children calling from Chicago multiple times. And of course dear magical wife who found a way to be with me even while 2,242 miles away.

Sometimes I fear becoming an aging Tarzan depending on a single vine for all my support. But now at the wise old age of 44 I find myself becoming Charlotte, weaving a rich variety of peoples into an intricate, beautiful web.

One family just wrote, "TE DESEAMOS UN AñO LLENO DE LUZ Y DE AMIGOS Y AMOR Y MUSICA Y...LO QUE MAS TE GUSTE A TI." Yes, dear amigos, I have absolute confidence that yet another year will be filled with light and friends and love and music. As for the things that most turn me on, if my choice of how to spend a birthday are any indication, they seem to include caring for my animals, supporting 4 non-profits through my consulting work, hugging an awful lot of good people, cleaning the house, gardening, letting a four-year-old crawl all over me, eating a third helping of chocolate cake, and writing to share this abundant Joy with all of you, my co-creators.

Oh ya, and skipping yoga to take my first outdoor shower of the year, in the late afternoon sun after planting 5 rows of parsnips. That was my present to myself. Cause gosh darnit, once a year on my special day I just deserve parsnips and ice-cold water.

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