I know I should be answering the 194 emails I received after being off the last couple of days but I just had to post my update.
Well, as some of you might have taken from my recent postings, I had not been looking forward to turning 50. However, I now have memories to last me a lifetime that had me all verklempt! I broke my own rule about "no crying allowed".
Let me back up a bit. As you know, I had the pleasure of lunching recently with old friends and a surprise afternoon visit by one. Well, on Wednesday the 23rd, I enjoyed the pleasure of being taken to lunch by 3 former Colleagues who I now have the wonderful pleasure of calling friends. It was fabulous - lobster fettuccine and cake! What's not to love.
The following morning I turned 50. I must admit I was a little disappointed when the warranty people did not come knocking at my door telling me my parts had expired. I fully expected my boobs to have shifted overnight and I would spend the first 15 minutes of my waking trying to pull them back into position. Imagine my surprise when nothing happened. No lightening bolts or clash of thunder. I was just me - only older. Perhaps a new wrinkle around my mouth but who cares - I don't have to look at it!
I spent the day relaxing, cleaning my bathroom, doing laundry and waiting patiently for when I could leave to go to my eldest childs home for dinner with the family. 5:30pm arrived and we were off! My brother Kris and I hopped in the truck for the slow crawl through rush hour traffic to go see the kids. When we arrived I was greeted by excited children saying happy birthday and showing me their decorations - hand made "50's" made of construction paper were hung throughout the house. As I was being regaled with tales of excitement, my cousin Aly and her husband arrived to join us. I was so pleased. Dinner was perfect - spaghetti, salad and cake - perfecto! I received artwork, a beautiful candle and a pair of earrings that Aly made for me. It had been a wonderful birthday.
At around 9:30pm, I was picked up by my dad and Joyce for a trip across the border for Black Friday shopping to begin very early the following morning. I was actually a little surprised to see them since we had experienced a horrid wind storm that day that caused ferry delays. I was very touched that they would sit at a ferry terminal for 7 hours in the hopes of catching the only boat off the island just to spend time with me shopping.
We were off and running. After a brief 10 minute wait at the border, we were at our hotel by about 11pm. We spent a nice evening chatting and checking out dad's legs (that's another story - suffice to say, his look better than mine). I was very excited at the thought of being part of the excitement of Black Friday. I had a budget and a credit card - I was good to go!
After a somewhat sleepless night - Dad snores and I was afraid to so I tried to stay on my stomach all night - not a good position for me - Joyce and I were up at 6:30am and out the door for the short walk to the mall. By 9:00am, my credit card was on fire and my cash was just about gone. I had power shopped. The children will be pleased this year I hope. Dad joined us at about 10am so we had someone to hold our bags if necessary. We loaded up the truck and hit the ground running again. By noon we were all hungry and our feet hurt. We hit the Red Robin for lunch. Turns out you get a free burger on your birthday so while we ate, I signed Dad and I up on line (his birthday was earlier in the month) with my handy dandy crackberry. As lunch neared the end our crackpot of a waiter came up with a birthday ice cream sundae for me. I thought "how sweet", until the lunatic asked me to stand on my chair. He, along with the other servers then asked me how old I was and from the peanut gallery I was sitting with I hear "she's 50!". I think I heard clanging in my ears about that point - saying it aloud sounded just plain wrong. However, it was not the clanging in my head that I heard but the shout from our server "Can we have everyone's attention - it's Holly's birthday and she is 50!" and they all started to clap and sing "happy happy birthday."
Just so everyone is aware - you don't actually die from embarrassment However, deep consideration is given to wishing the floor would open up and swallow you whole!
After lunch we hit the shops again. I struck it rish in one store. I bought the softest, coolest purse I have ever seen. It is a brownish, pumpkiny colour of the softest leather imaginable......wait for it....$16. Best buy ever!
By about 3pm, we were shopped out and I was reduced to crossing my fingers at the last cash register hoping my card still had room to pay for my final items. All in all, not badly done. I even had enough room left on the card for ice cream should I have needed it.
We were off to the next place - the Silver Reef Spa and Casino. Seems I was booked in for a body scrub and massage, courtesy of my family, for 4pm. It was wonderful. I fell asleep on the table. I know I fell asleep because I snored and my arms fell off the sides and I startled myself awake. Afterwards, we were to meet in the lobby for dinner.
I came around the corner to find my older brother (contrary to what he tells people, I am NOT the big sister and I wish he would quit introducing me that way) and my sister-in-law Angie (David, don't screw this up, she is a special one) talking with my parents. After hugs and kisses hello, my father tells me to turn around. Holy crap and knock me over with a feather - there is my cousin Barb and my Aunt Sandye. They had come all this way to join us. What a wonderful surprise. Dinner that night was full of laughter and fun and I lost the rest of cash in the casino.
The following morning I discovered that everyone else was going off shopping and I was to have a morning facial followed by a swim, a walk and some blackjack. All in all, a pretty good day. We were to meet at 6pm for dinner.
I wandered downstairs shortly before 6 to cash out my remaining 75 cents when I turned around to see my Cousin Rob with his lovely girlfriend Karen standing there. Being the fool that I am and the fact that my mind was stuck in stupid mode, I did not connect the dots right away. I stood there with my mouth open, not really saying anything except sounds of surprise. I was amazed at the coincidence of them being here too. I said the rest of the family was having dinner and they should join us (duh - he must have thought I was the blondest blonde he had the pleasure of knowing). While I caught up with my big brother and sister-in-law and said "look who's here" (no one gave anything away), I got a tap on the shoulder and I turn around in time to see another cousin, Fred, and his lovely girlfriend. It finally clicked in and I broke my rule and started to cry like the fool I was. I was stunned and amazed. My dad was having a great time laughing at me. He pointed me into the restaurant and said we were at the very back. I made my way inside still a little shaken but giddy. (yes, you read right - I said giddy. Don't worry though, it won't come up again)
I found our table because there was a giant christmas wrapped present at the table. I had sat beside this present all the way down thinking it was for Joyce's neice who lives nearby. I thought we were going to drop it off on our way home. As I was standing there looking at it, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and as I turned, my heart felt like a jackhammer in my chest. There was my Uncle Don and Auntie Linda - all the way from Pender Island. They had taken 3 ferries and a bit of drive to come all the way to spend my birthday with me. I started to cry again. I felt like a giant goof. By this point my dad was laughing outright and I was hanging on. He then whispered in my ear that in about 1 minute I would turn around and see another surprise. Quite frankly, I wasn't sure my heart could take it. Lo and behold, I turn around and there was my Uncle Richard and his lovely girlfriend, Lindsay. I almost couldn't stand anymore - literally. I had never been so surprised and shocked in all my life! I was shaking like a leaf. No one has ever done anything like this for me before. I was so touched that they all travelled to spend my birthday with me. I was almost beside myself with happiness. I was shaking so badly that I had trouble with my knife and fork during dinner - forget about drinking anything, I couldn't hold my glass still.
It was a wonderful meal with great conversation. I received gifts of nail products, wine and funny cards - one filled with a $50 bill (yay - I was flush again). I loved them all. However, I recieved one very very special gift from Joyce. She worked on it for 2 years. Keep in mind, I had long stopped crying and still had some vestige of mascara on. The last of it was about to come right off and slide down my cheeks.
That christmas wrapped gift held a painting - a special painting, of me and the grandkids on the beach in front of their home on the island. It is beautiful and my brother Kris has promised to build be a special frame for it. It is a keepsake I will treasure always. Just like I will this birthday.
As we all said good-bye the following morning and went our respective ways, I couldn't help but feel like perhaps this decade will be a good one. I have always felt loved by my family but this weekend, the fact that they all took the time to be with me has made me feel a little humbled, a lot grateful and very very very loved. Crap, I am ccrying again as I write this - everyone turn away for a moment while I collect myself.
As I said off the top, I am a lucky lucky girl. Thank you to everyone who put this weekend together - it must have been like herding cats to pull it all off with everyone - and thank you to my family for being there. I am truly honored and grateful to have been blessed with such a special family.
Since I did not take my camera with me (thinking I was just going shopping), I don't have any personal photo's to attach. However, I have taken a photo of my painting and of the children's artwork which I have hung on the wall of my office. take a look and tell me how lucky I am.
Stay tuned. I am about to head out across the country for a whirlwind trip of Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto. Talk about your hot spots. I am just a one woman wonder of excitment - what a jet setter!