Today is my first 39th birthday. I'm told that we have a lot of 39th birthdays, so I need to be that specific. And all I can think is ... yippee! This is going to be a fantastic year. A lot of change is afoot, but it'll be good change. Welcome change. Change-y change-up change. And I'm one of these weirdos that loves change. I embrace the blind turn, convinced that Something Really Exciting Is About To Happen, always! And while this past year's excitement is not what I had in mind, being "the master of my fate, the captain of my soul" sure is. I'm going to keep it positive and simply declare that after a year of hell, freedom sure does taste better than even my grandma's cherry-filled cookies, which is practically sacrilegious to state.
And what has made this past year bearable -- what has helped me to come out on top -- has been the support of my girlfriends. They're a tribe in need of a name. Superwomen? Fantastic Femmes? Girls Gone Awesome? There is no moniker that I could give them that would reflect their superpowers. They've given me gifts that I can never repay: their time. Their ear. Their phone calls "just to check in." Their advice (but never too much advice). Their respect. Their understanding. Their patience. Their strength. But what they've given me goes far beyond the intangibles. Some of these women literally got me out of bed. Put me in the shower. Put a cup of coffee in my hands and demanded that I start to live again. Loved my kids. Told my kids that they love them, and that they're there for them. Some of these ladies' husbands have stepped up and become better friends to me, too -- and, likewise, made sure my kids know that they're there, too. There are a whole lot of tacky quotes I could offer to sum up what these women have done for me, but I'll stick to just one. As a lifelong musician, this one is appropriate: these friends "know the song in my heart and sing it to me when my memory fails."
These women have taught me that there are people in the world who will never let me down -- who will always have my back, and my kids' backs, and they have reminded me in some way every single day that I am not alone.
They have made me feel good about myself again, a feeling that was taken from me long before this past year. It feels great to have my self back and to believe again that I am worth this level of friendship and goodness. I've always felt that way as a mom, but to feel that outside of that role is life-affirming.
So today, as I celebrate my first-39th, I celebrate the girlfriends who helped to give me my life back. They know who they are. They are in my heart, and they are a big part of the reason I will laugh today, and smile today, and have hope today, and tomorrow, and the next day. They make me want to go out into the world and do some good like they've done for me. They're an inspiration, and I am so very grateful for them. I love them all beyond what I can express.
And to you, I share this gift that one of them gave me -- a card left at my door, with an orchid, last November. Since I don't know many of my friends' handwriting, and since it's unsigned, I don't know the giver of this precious gift. But that woman should know that I hung that card just outside my bedroom door and read it every single day. It reminded me of what's important at a time when I'd forgotten.
Thank you all, so very much. And ... yippee!!! 39 feels just fine!