My sister Mendy came to California to celebrate our birthdays this year. She was really feeling the winter blues in Iowa and needed a plane ticket to calm her woes. It didn’t really matter where that plane took her, she just needed to know she had a short escape to look forward to. I was glad she chose to come here to celebrate our birthdays!
Having grown up with our birthdays one calendar day apart (December 3 and 4), Mendy and I are used to sharing the spotlight and being together. Our mother is the one to blame for the fact that after 37 and 35 years, respectively, Mendy and I still love to celebrate the days we were born. Many boyfriends, and now husbands, have cursed Sandy Sweeney for this very fact.
When we were kids, each of us got our OWN SPECIAL DAY with our OWN SPECIAL FRIEND and OWN SPECIAL MEAL and OWN SPECIAL ACTIVITY. As we grew into high school and beyond, it became a Shopping Extravaganza with Mom, Grandma Loris, and us two girls. There were many trips to either Omaha or Des Moines where Mendy would be miserable with a hangover (high school!!) or I would be miserable with a hangover (post-college!!). But, you give us enough Chinese food and we’ll rally for anything. Especially when Gram is buying!!!
This year, the party was at my house. Mendy came in on Thursday night — her birthday — and I took her to San Francisco for a happy hour sunset cruise on the Bay. It was admittedly chilly, but I didn’t feel like she could come this far without actually going to San Francisco. Plus, both of us love being on the water. We then had dinner at a nice restaurant close to home and kept the night relatively tame. Friday, Mendy woke up asking for a bloody mary and then we did a little light exercise before lunch and shopping. Mendy needed something cute to wear at the party! I hosted a small get-together at home for about 20 friends. It was the perfect mix of good people, good food, lots of drink, and lots of laughter. I kept looking around thinking, “This is my life. These people are here to see me and to celebrate with me. I am so grateful!”
Saturday was a bit of a lazy day. We finally got ourselves around in the afternoon and drove over to Half Moon Bay to bottle three cases of wine. The small winery there has these events every month and the bottles are only $4.95 each if you bring your own bottle. Melody called while we were headed back over the hill and we stopped at her place for happy hour. Indeed! Mendy, Greg, and I enjoyed Chinese take-out that night and promptly fell asleep about 30 minutes into a movie.
I went for a bike ride on Sunday while Mendy basked in a full weekend with no household chores of her own. We had plans to go to a friend’s improv comedy show that night. Melody and Phil joined us, and we had a light dinner at my house before Phil drove us up there as DD. It was a fun time! Melody made a complete ass of herself (in a good way!) by running onto the stage before they had even asked for audience participation — FALLING on the way! Holy cow we were laughing hard!! We each got a turn being part of the troupe and it was very fun all around. Melody had fond memories of the “trip” for several weeks in the form of a nasty bruise. Can’t wait to go back!
Mendy’s flight was at 3 PM on Monday, so she and I had lunch with Aunt Carol near Jack London Square that day. Uncle Ron was lunching with a friend of his, so it was nice to be just us girls. I got Mendy to the airport in plenty of time and she didn’t have any trouble with her expired drivers license, but then she got delayed flying through Denver and didn’t get home until 2 AM.
Needless to say, it was a very fun birthday! I loved having my friends meet my sister in more of a social setting and really get to know her personality and see how different we really are. I liked hearing Greg and her banter back and forth and watch their relationship become easier. Taking stock on where I am at 35 years old has been a very pleasant experience: I have a husband I love dearly, no job that I hate going to, friends who like me for who I am, a strong and able body that allows me to do the things I love, and the knowledge to recognize all of it and be grateful.