The scene: Scaramouche (where I had my 18th birthday), a restaurant of pedigree. It has the most absurdly beautiful view of the city (it's on an escarpment) and the food is legendary.
The peeps: Sandra (who doubled as the photographer - see the shots at the end of the post), Hilary, Nicole, David, M, Scott, Abbie and Ray (my parents), Steen and, natch, me!
The surprise: Rick Mercer was sitting 2 tables over. We convinced my cute little child to go over and say hello. Tacky, I realize, but for once we threw decorum to the wind. He was outrageously pleasant and professional, fyi.
I cannot express how thrilled and grateful I am to everyone who came out to celebrate with me. Nicole put together a book of special birthday wishes from everybody at the table (talk about advance planning) and, no joke, if you were to read them you would think I'd discovered a cure for cancer and established a working group to bring about world peace. And won an Oscar. I bawled my eyes out.
My parents came all the way from North Carolina (having just been here 2 months ago) on Friday evening and met us at our regular start-the-weekend dinner. It was a total surprise (except, strangely, I had a premonition this would happen!).
I got some beautiful gifts: A jade pendant (from Sandra), 2 Japanese sewing books (from Steen and Nicole) - one is called Drape Drape, a porcelain ring and my fave hand soap (from Scott and M). A few days later, in a fit of extravagance, Scott bought me an iPad with all the accouterments. I made him return it (we already have one in our household), but what a thoughtful purchase.
Really though, just having my family and friends to celebrate with was all the gift I could have asked for. We are all so busy, and spread thin, but we came together seamlessly and had such a GREAT time. After dinner we went back to our house for wine and cheese in the garden.
I also had a life-changing epiphany, early on in the evening. It deserves its own year of therapy, let me tell you. Maybe I'll talk about it someday on the blog...
There's no way for me to articulate my emotional perspective on this occasion. It was a joy to look at the people I care about all around me - to reflect on how I've known them, in some cases since my birth, and in other cases since theirs. Life marches on and loss is a part of the equation. But on this event, the disparate threads were rewoven to create a beautiful tapestry of my life.
I will never forget it.
Sandra (with the hair), Nicole (in the b/w dress), Hilary (in vintage Missoni). Not my best pic but the ensemble cast is fantastic!
The coconut cream pie is the best thing you will ever eat. Really. I don't bother with the chocolate sauce which is why I requested it on the side. Note: Everyone at the table who ate dessert, had the pie.
Hilly and M - yes, the woman in the background is wearing a wedding dress. That was its own fun story...