2009 was one of those years that had one of those birthdays. You know the one that starts with a 4 and ends with an Oh. Honestly it was not as dreaded as I had imagined it might be. Aside from the mini freak out with the realization that I was in high school when my mother turned forty, and my grandmother was already a grandmother at 40. I wondered if Davis will even remember me turning 50. Other than that moment, there was just too much going on to think about it. We were full on into adoption paperwork and launching a new business and balancing everything with the almost-3-year-old and two full-time jobs. Rolyn felt horrible not acknowledging my "big" day. I told him puh-lease there were only so many hours in a day. I was really really fine with June 18 coming and going without any fanfare.
Or so I thought that was to be the case.
Somewhere around August or September Rolyn finally had a (little) moment to pause. Then he got an idea. A really big idea. A really really huge amazing idea. The PERFECT idea. And so he got to work all incognito and ninja like and made it happen.
Without me suspecting a thing. Seriously. Nothing. Me = Clueless.
Last weekend I thought we were headed to Rolyn's boss' apartment in the city for a little afternoon cocktail party to celebrate his new kitchen. Davis' babysitter came to hang with her, which for us is a rare weekend treat! On the way we were going to stop by a photography show at a local pub. Sounded like a nice afternoon to me. No pressure, no stress.
Little did I know that Rolyn was feeling so much pressure and stress he was about to pass out. Again, Me = Clueless.
We get to the pub and the door opens and I hear SURPRISE!
I was in such shock I could not even think. There standing before me were loads of friends and family. All singing Happy Birthday. As I slowly started to breathe again I realized that this was for me, I looked around the room. My parents, sister and brother-in-law, and three friends that are like family all flew in from Texas. Old friends and new friends from NYC that are my home away from home. Lots of beautiful children. I was in total disbelief (and still am even a week and half later)
He even set up a few video chats with friends in the South of France and Sydney that could not be there in person. Wow.
After watching/crying/laughing through an incredible slide show that had pictures of me as a baby through the next forty years of my life celebrating the big and little things with so many people that I love, I thought, "This is Awesome."
Little did I know how Awesome it was about to get.
Rolyn held up a flip chart. He asked me to read it out loud.
In honor of your milestone birthday...
Your friends and family got together to raise...
...for a cause we know is dear to your heart.
Inspired by your generous spirit, 68 donations were made to provide 250 people in Africa with clean drinking water.
We love you.
Needless to say I could not read much after $5,000. I was too moved to speak. Too teary to see. I have never felt so loved. And I thought, "It does not get better than this."
And then it did.
Today we received an email from charity:water
This is it!
In December we sent your funds to .
The construction has started, and we are ordering plaques to adhere to each water project site.
Yours will read:
Sponsored by: “Heather’s Big Heart”.
Thanks again and I look forward to following up with you in the coming months on our progress!
charity: water /charitywater.org
Ethiopia. This well is being built in Ethiopia.
Hands down. The Best Birthday Ever.