Thank you to everyone who sent birthday cards in honor of my XL birthday! I can honestly say that it was the most fun I've had in awhile watching all of the cards pour in. 87 arrived by mail as of this weekend and I received another 37 from school from my students and friends. Click on the link above and it will take you to my picnik slide show. I have snapshots of my favorites with captions included. A lucky few of you will be receiving prizes in the mail. Watch for an envelope to arrive from the Lamp Post. Think of it like watching for the Publisher's Clearing House Prize Van to pull into your driveway. And for those of you procrastinators who didn't get my card out in time and are pouting, I'll quote Ed McMahon, "You can't win if you don't play!"
I will remember my birthday as bittersweet as it truly marked a milestone in my life. On the last day of my 30's I experienced two deaths within hours of one another. Both my mother in law and my friend, neighbor, and collegue Myra went home to be with the Lord on that day. Thinking about life and death on the same day left me sleepless for much of the next night. I was awake as I watched the clock turn to March 3rd and felt a mix of emotions as it happened. I was sad for the people I had lost, but was at peace knowing they were in a better place. I stepped into my 40's with the confidence that I will see them again someday. I do this because I have faith in my Lord and I believe.
I was reminded of a poem that Maria Shriver read at Tim Russert's funeral a few summers ago. For you Slovenians who may not be familiar with American News programs, Tim Russert was the NBC Chief White House Correspondent and Political Analyst. No one could interpet the tangled web of American politics and put it into understandable terms for the American public like Tim Russert. I never cast a single vote without thinking first about what Tim had to say. Mr. Russert died of a sudden heart attack while working at NBC studios. His death left a huge void with his NBC family as with all his viewers. Since, I have not found any other analyst that I trust as much. I miss him terribly as I am sure many others do. I am sure this poem has been read at other funerals, and the author is unknown. However it is with Tim Russert's funeral that I connect this poem to. It comforts me today and I would like to share it with you. Here it is:
The Little Ship
I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea.
The setting sun tinted her white sails with a golden light,
and as she disappeared from sight
a voice at my side whispered, "She is gone."
But the sea was a narrow one.
On the farther shore a little band of friends had gathered
to watch and wait in happy expectation.
Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and,
at the very moment when my companion had whispered,
"She is gone,"
A glad shout went up in joyous welcome:
"Hooray! Here she comes!"
I bet as my mother in law and my friend reached the shore on the other side, they turned and looked back and saw me waving and blowing them kisses. I am sure they could tell who I was because I was the one wearing my 40 glasses, party hat, and was holding a cluster of black balloons. I hope I gave them a chuckle.
See you in another life, sisters.