This year could quite possibly be the most fun I've ever had in celebrating a birthday. In fact I know it is. Since my 20s, I haven't wanted big birthday celebrations. A nice dinner, some handmade cards by my family was just perfect. But this year, for 40, I decided to make an exception. I decided I wanted to spend it with some of the people I love most in the world, but who I rarely get to see. People who at one point shared those big celebrations with me many years (almost decades!) ago in New York City, before there were spouses and children, mortgages and school tuition payments.
I decided we would meet in Cape Cod. It was not too far from Brooklyn and Connecticut where these friends of mine still remain, but we could still get away from the everyday and enjoy the beach and each other.
To be able to see how far we've all come, and how cradled each of us are in our family and home lives, well it felt like a blessing. Adulthood hasn't treat us too badly after all.
Ify and Jen. These two ladies above, whom I've now known for more years than I can count, are the sisters I never had. They're the people for whom the word "friend" just doesn't do justice. They've seen me through many of my life's twists and turns, and have always kept our friendship close, no matter the miles between us. I love them so.
Chris, is the brother I never had. A dear, dear friend to me. So funny, loyal, smart, and talented. We often marked time through whatever hip hop we were listening to at the time–beginning with ATCQ's Low End Theory, and continuing on, although he's much more with it than I am now. Not surprisingly, I also really like his lovely wife Kamala too.
Then there's my half-sister Lanka (right). I wish I could erase that silly "half" part, and not consider ourselves only our father's daughters. Fiercely intelligent, creative, accomplished and totally in love with her fiance Brooke, who is just as equally interesting and doing some great things with her life. Such a treat to bask in their glow.
And Kiki. Sister of Ify (and honorary sister of Mazi.) Gorgeous, independent, world traveler. It amazes me that no matter how much time has passed from when we've last seen each other, it always feels like it was just yesterday. There's an ease in our friendship that just flows. At this stage in life, that counts for a lot.
What a joy that our children made plenty of their own memories at the same time.
When I'd imagine what it would feel like to "turn 40", of course all those negative connotations attached to this "milestone" crossed my mind: planted firmly into middle age, the days of youth relegated to the past, taking stock of accomplishments and disappointments. But who wants to dwell on that? There's always time for self-reflection, not just at major birthdays. I wanted to enjoy the fruits of those 40 previous years, with my wonderful husband and children yes, but also with those who have helped shape who this woman, at 40, has become. She's still an absolute work in progress, but I know they'll be there regardless. They've proven it time and time again. Thank you.