This week brought my 60th birthday and the 27th anniversary of the day that Olga and I said “I do.” These two milestones have me reflecting on the memorable days of my life: both good and bad. There have certainly been terrible days: Our miscarriage on 1/4/93, losing Dad on 12/30/02, losing my job on 11/10/09, discovering cancer on 10/16/14, finding out I needed open heart surgery on 11/9/17…
But looking back across six decades, the wonderful days vastly outnumber the bad. I started to work on a list of my top ten favorite days: Picking up Toby in Texas with Juan on 4/12/84; the day the whole family gathered in Fredonia after Ben was born 11/21/86; a memorable fall day in Eureka Springs with the Azzaritos and Ama on 10/17/87; being introduced to Costa Rica by Olga and her family 12/30/90; the day I graduated from UB with my PhD, 5/16/97; the day we met Sabrina 8/4/07; the magical day the kids and I spent at Glacier National Park 7/22/09; picking up Tillie in Busti with Anthony & Bertha 4/28/11; Bob & Christina’s wedding (and Cedar Point honeymoon!) with the whole Foley gang 8/3/14; the final performance of “Hello Dolly” 4/28/18; getting my new job at Alfred 6/22/18, and yesterday – 7/16/19: my surprise 60th birthday party! ….before long the list started to spiral out of control as I thought about vacations, Christmases, weddings, birthday parties, trips, special times and memories with so many of you throughout my sixty trips around the sun.
It was, however, easy to decide on the four-way tie for first place: the four days that my family was assembled. As much as I cherish the memories of so many special days, there was something so transcendent about these particular four days which sets them apart from the others:
I’m a lover of writing and words, yet I am nonetheless stumped at trying to describe what those days meant to me. On July 4, 1992, Olga and I gathered with our family and friends and merged our two lives and created a new home. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but she was the common denominator for all four of my favorite days, my partner in all of this, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. On each of November 5, 1994, March 8, 1996, and May 1, 1999 a tiny little bundle of life and love and vulnerability and promise and hope and joy joined us — a LIFE that we created together. Each of those moments was so magical and mysterious and each would redefine everything that came after it. The wonder of the first time I held those precious little persons has stayed with me even as each stage of parenting has brought its own wonder, challenge, and joy.
Turning 60 is a shock: any pretense of still being young has been obliterated and far more of my days–good and bad–are behind me than are before me. But I continue to count on life having more wonderful days–and no more surgeries–in store for me: I still have quite a few bucket list items I want to accomplish: I hope to have more travel adventures and I’d like for my retirement years reconnecting with old friends (like I got to do yesterday at my party!) Even if I only try to read all the books I’ve bought but not yet read, I’ll need to live several more decades. (And, if I live to be as old as my great Aunt Susan, I still have 46 years left!) Thanks to all of you dear friends and family for filling my 60th birthday and all the days of my life with love. The memories we share together grow sweeter with each passing year and continue to light my path into the future.