My husband Ron turned 60 this past week. As my gift to him, I picked up the tab so our children could come home as a surprise to be here for his party last night. He had no idea they were coming. First to arrive were Akili and his girlfriend Tina from San Diego, who turned up in the evening Friday and we took Ron out to dinner, where Sudi (drove up from Oakland) appeared during the meal. Later, at home, we sat around the kitchen table talking. Ron was suspicious that Yael was also coming but we tried to put him off the track. Then at about 9PM, I got my own surprise when the front door opened and closed, someone entered, and began to play “Fur Elise” on the piano. My baby brother Dan, who lives in Pennsylvania, was coincidentally at a business conference in San Francisco this week so he checked in with Sudi about plans and drove up Friday evening. I took one look at him and said, “What the hell are you doing here?!” At 9:45 the door opened again and Ron knew it had to be Yael (she had to work and had taken a commuter flight from Santa Monica in the evening) and sure enough she appeared in the kitchen a minute later. The final surprise of the night was that my stepson Brian, who lives in St. Louis, had picked Yael up in Santa Rosa on his way North and brought her to us. He waited until Ron greeted Yael to show his face. Ron was blown away that all his children came home to celebrate his birthday.
Several of my dedicated blog readers asked me to write on today’s blog what I said before we lit the cake last night. I doubt I can be as eloquent as I was last night since I am running on very little sleep at the moment, but I’ll make an attempt to write down the thoughts I expressed last night.
As we grow older we begin to look at the things we hoped to accomplish in our lives and to assess what we actually did and did not do. We all have things we wanted to accomplish that we just couldn’t do and I know that there are things that Ron had hoped to accomplish that he has not done. But one of the biggest reasons that he did not get all of those things done is that he was pretty busy raising our beautiful children, all of whom have come home to be with him for his 60th birthday and I thank them for being here. (Brian, Yael, Akili, and Sudi received a big round of applause at that point.) Being a dad to these guys is a pretty big accomplishment.
Last week I said to Ron, “I think we’re going to have close to a hundred people at your party. We have over 20 guests who are coming from out of town.” And Ron said to me, “Why are so many people coming to celebrate my birthday?” It’s so like him to wonder why he’s so popular. I told him it was because we know how to throw a really good party! But seriously, it’s because he’s a really really good guy. A lot of people like him. A lot of people love him. He’s just been there for a lot of people. Sometimes I wish there was an award that regular folks would get to recognize them for just being a really good person who leads an upright life. I didn’t mention this last night, but the word “integrity” comes to mind when I think of how to describe Ron. He’s a man of integrity. He’s also a heck of a lot of fun. I’ll say it again. He’s just a really really good guy!
I think that everyone here [at the party] pretty much knows that Ron struggles with serious health issues and he has struggled with them for 20 years. Some of you have the same health problems so you know from the inside how tough it can get. But Ron works incredibly hard to manage his health conditions so that he can be here for his children, and for me, and for all of you, for many more years to come.
None of us knows how much more time we have left in this life or what will happen tomorrow, but with someone like Ron, who has so many health problems, I am particularly grateful for every day that I have him with me. And I wanted to celebrate his 60th with a big celebration because I don’t know if I will have him for another big birthday, but I hope I will and I think I will because he is determined to stay here with us, so you’re all invited back next year, no just kidding! We will have been married for 30 years in August and tonight I’m celebrating that I still have Ron with me. That he made 60. And thank you to all of you for coming out and celebrating with us.
Well, it was something like that. Now I need to get some sleep….
I'm adding some pictures after the post this week. Here is Sudi, Yael, Brian, Ron, Amy, Akili, Tina. (Brian is Ron's son from first marriage; Tina is Akili's girlfriend.)
And here is a photo of Ron's cake, iced beautifully by Tina, musical decor by Sudi, candles by me.