They Say it’s Your birthday[1]—Have a good time

Good morning, Meg.  Happy July 3.  Happy birthday.   My wonderful daughter turns 29 years old today.  She is lovely, full of spunk and energy.  Meg loves taking on projects to make the world a better place and also to make her own world joyful.

This is the first time I haven’t been with you on your birthday.  Oh, my. I bought you presents.  They should arrive promptly today.  But something was missing.  Hmmm, what to do?  There needed to be more.  Something reminiscent of all the birthdays, we have spent together since your original birthday, when you were labeled the fire cracker baby, on July 3, 1983.
So I decided we needed a cake.  A special cake.  A birthday cake with pink hearts and ribbons and “Happy Birthday, Meg” written on its face.
So Meg, since you and Jake are in California, we had to party without you.  So we shared cake with the tennis group.  Terry and the tennis group send birthday greetings:
There was still cake left:
We went to dinner with Sherry and Mike.  They shared the cake and send their love:
By Monday there was just a bit of cake left.  Bob and Barb were delighted to share a piece of cake and to send you birthday greetings:
Aunt Sherry spent the night.  She sends her love and wishes you a wonderful birthday.  But she was too late to get any of the cake:

 Since you weren’t here, we celebrated without you.  Sorry you didn’t get to enjoy the cake.  Is it okay that we celebrated without you?
We all send our love.  Especially me.  Have a great birthday.  I miss you a bunch.  But I know you will have a great day with Jake, Auntie and Tio.  Love you.
Mumsy

[1] The Beetles

Happy Birthday Andrew!!

28 years ago today, a very special friend was born. Andrew Chappelle has been one of my best friends since 6th grade. It all started out in P.E. class, though I can’t remember how. Pretty soon we were having high school camp outs and driving around like goof balls in the Jeep. In college, Andie flew to KC for a formal at my sorority. Needless to say, we’ve had some wonderful experiences as friends.

I am constantly in awe of my amazing friend. He has spent time working and studying in various places around the world. St. Louis, China, D.C., Doha. I’m pretty sure he even went to Jerusalem at one point, though I never heard the complete story. And even though I rarely get to see his smiling face, I always know I’ll get to see him for a brief moment when we’re both in Kansas City.

So Andiepoo, on your birthday, I want to say Thank You for being such a wonderful friend. Mumsy and I love you dearly. Happy Birthday!

Happy Mother’s Day–to the Village

We all know the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child”.  Each of us benefits from such a village. I want to thank the village of people who have shared in raising Meg.

Meg’s village, necessarily, starts with my mom.  Until her death two years ago, she was the matriarch of our family.  She loved each of her children and her grandchildren unconditionally.  She was always there for us.  We did not want to disappoint her because she never disappointed us.  She made sure each of us felt special.  She was a wonderful mother, wife, friend, cook, gardener and listener.  Meg knew how much grams loved her.  She was beautiful in every way.

Our family has included an abundance of cheerleaders for Meg and her cousins.  We get together whenever we can even though we are spread throughout the country.  Here we celebrated with dad as he received his most recent community award last year in Independence.

As a family we have worked hard to provide each other personal and moral support.  We treasure our successes and provide each other solace during difficult times as we strive to grow individually and together.

Terry has been a rock star, guiding her and supporting her with his quiet wisdom and no-nonsense practicality.  He has listened to her, comforted her and helped her to grow with a combination of youthful idealism and an understanding of economic and financial realities.

Meg’s strong ties to both her father’s family and mine have enabled her to stretch her comfort level. With encouragement from others, she has ridden a motorcycle, danced at a ball, studied and traveled abroad, supervised a pro bono tax clinic, worn a sari, attended Passover and climbed a mountain at Jackson Hole.

In so many ways, our lives are enriched by friends as well as family.  There have been truly wonderful people who have shared their lives with Meg and nurtured her as she has grown to adulthood.

Close friends have also been like family to her and have enriched her life and mine.  Whether Meg needed a “sister”, a second “mother” or just a wise friend, there has always been someone there for her.

She has spent birthdays, holidays, and lots of ordinary days in the company of extraordinary people.  She has shopped for shoes, indulged in tuna melts, shared dinners, walked in 4th of July neighborhood parades, spent weekends in Branson and learned how to dream with these friends.

The terms wisdom, love of life, love of beauty, concern for humanity are terms that fit each member of this wonderful village.  It is never possible to truly isolate the gifts of knowledge and understanding she has gained from individual relationships.  But as she has matured, Meg has had role models and mentors who were there for her when she needed them.

As much as her family shared with her our own values, she was truly enriched by the opportunity to observe, and share in the family lives of friends and family who broadened and deepened her understanding of the many ways to live life, to mature as a true friend, to be a person of integrity and to live her life with grace.

Her most significant mentors have also helped her to develop her own strength and to gain a vision for the person she has become.

As I write this, I realize the futility of trying to include photographs of, or give individual thanks to, every individual who has been truly special in our lives. (Besides, the fact I don’t have photographs of some of these wonderful people is a mistake I will quickly rectify.)  But each of you know my gratitude to you.  For all of you who have been a part of her life, and mine, I want to thank you for being part of our village.  

Happy mother’s day.