Today is my 40th birthday! Last weekend my childhood friends celebrated this milestone with me. I don’t do parties, I don’t like crowds and I don’t like party planning. But my childhood friends must have been party planners in another lifetime because they came ready with decorations, gourmet cakes and vino. It was an intimate gathering which is more my speed and I relished every minute of it. When they sang “happy birthday” I looked at every single one of them and thought, “Who would have known that when I went to St. Joseph’s School in Sister Agnes Marie’s first grade class in room ten that I would meet some of the most important people in my life.”
Over the course of my elementary school years more friendships were made and my circle of sisters, or hermanas kept growing. These were the little girls I rode my bike with, took swimming lessons with and had slumber parties with. We spent endless summer beach days together talking about boys, complaining about our “lame parents” and their “stupid rules” (Thank God for those rules). We shared bikinis, lipgloss and clothes. These girls, now women, mothers and wives have been there with me for an entire lifetime. Marilyn Jane, my best friend in the whole wide world commented that we had known each other for 34 years now. We were six when we met, imagine that. Now their children play with each other and we are the proud Tía’s and Titis to these beautiful children. In college I met more amazing young women and they too are part of my sisterhood.
During life’s bleakest moments my best friends, my hermanas have been there for each other: My dad died last night, my dad has cancer, my mom has cancer, I have breast cancer, infertility, nervous breakdowns, miscarriages, depression, I lost my job, my husband lost his job, we might lose the house, my parents are getting old and I need help to take care of them… We have been through a lot but as I blew out my candles I thanked God for them and for the amazing people that keep showing up in my life.
Last night at my yoga teacher training my new yogini friends surprised me with a birthday celebration. I was so touched because I just met these women three weeks ago. Perhaps this is why I love picture books that inspire friendships and kindness. I’m a sucker for picture books that tug at my heart and make me cry. The books below are just a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them. And don’t forget the tissue box!
Thanks for celebrating with me and for the countless birthday wishes. I wish you a lifetime full of laughter so you can share with a dear and loyal friend.