Having a birthday could really be a bummer experience if it were not for the constancy of my birth siblings and my adopted sisters. They consistently pull through — well, with occasional breakdowns and all is well nonetheless, in the end. In this picture I am holding my brother’s daughter’s baby boy on my lap. Somehow a whole generation has grown up. Girlfriends who have outlived two ex-husbands and my parents measure the stability of my life.
I have failed to acknowledge these special girlfriends from time to time for things I have appreciated, and for that I have some regret. Yet there is an underlying forgiveness that comes with a great deal of love and acceptance for each other’s humanity — eventually if not immediately.
My most recent birthday was Friday, and with it came the sweetest card from my longest time adopted sister — you have seen this card. It is the lineup of girls, all throwing one leg in the air, wearing the old fashioned bathing suits. Inside is the precious reminder that we are sisters by choice, not by chance, and a suggestion that since our 50th year of sisterly love and mutual friendship and appreciation is coming up in four years — can you believe it? — that we plan a big something to commemorate the occasion. But what?
A trip to Paris? Actually we’ve done that and this longest standing girlfriend, with whom I’m pondering a commemorative event, lost her purse on the metro. Maybe something closer — San Francisco? We could find and visit the place we ate EVERY NIGHT for the three days we were there because the polenta was SO good! Would it be good again? We laughed so hard on that trip I pee’d my pants and we had to return to the hotel so I could change. EVERYTHING that trip was hilarious — we saw Beach Blanket Bingo goes to Babylon, or something like that.
OK, we’ve done that. What about a road trip? Well, she and another friend (to round out the three stooges act) tried that a couple of years ago and it turns out we have gotten more set in our ways over the years, not more gracious. Maybe not a road trip.
I think in the end she will visit me or I will visit her. Those are the most relaxing visits. Familiar spaces in which to reminisce and remind each other of our better qualities is like getting the tank filled up for the next big trip around the sun.
Guest Blog by Pamela Stambaugh