What a party.  Here it is Monday morning, and I’m still bathed in DHEA and HGH and oxytocin and all the other good hormones that your body sends out to bring the party.

To everyone who came to the party, called me, texted me, Facebooked me, snail-mailed me — thank you so much!  Your expression of love and congratulations meant so much to me – more than even an amateur wordsmith like me can express!

It’s been all over Facebook, but I think I have a couple of readers who aren’t on FB, so the story begins Friday night, when my youngsters colluded to surprise me with their very presence!  I had one of the four confirmed to be here – #2, Sam, is home from his year in New Zealand.  Amy and Glenda said they were committed to a women’s backpacking trip in Knoxville, and Ben in Colorado was tied up with school and work.  Whatever they did to make it happen, there they all were, sitting at a table in Marina’s on Friday night!

Deleriously happy
loudest table in Marina's

I can’t remember when we were last all together at home – we were together at Ragbrai, but Ben never made it to TN, and before that we were in Colorado at Ben’s home (less Sam).

Saturday dawned party day – in went the BBQ roasts and on went the coffee.  My parents and brother headed up from Georgia, and my aunties headed down from Gallatin as the kids took the decorating into their own hands.  Soon we had the bus and jeep in the back yard, streamers on the porch, balloons, slack line drawn from the bus to the jeep, bonfire assembled, kegs icing, and signs put up out at the road.

instant party

stringing lights from house to bus
supervisory crew

We finished getting ready about sunset and then our guests started arriving.

Gammy and Aden
inside view
cousin Jen's handiwork

LED and fire hoop show
Aden and Alden
my aunt Annie

I am now officially 50, and an Ironmanwoman.  The gift of everyone’s presence will last a lifetime in my memory, and the tangible gifts fell into about 3 categories:  wine, coffee, and silver jewelry.  My friends and family know me well.  I love them all and have them laid out on the table so I can see them as I pass by (the gifts, not the friends).

You can’t quite see it, but pinned to my top is a tiny little pair of Navy wings.  I was born the day my dad graduated from Naval pilot training, and instead of my mother pinning his wings on him as planned, he came to the hospital and pinned that miniature set on my diaper.  Dad and I celebrated that moment 50 years later by him passing on a little birthday green, if you know what I mean.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for choosing me above all the other millions of sperm and egg siblings you could have picked….

Brother Eric reciprocated the birthday theme from the 50 candy bars (there’s a story) I gave him last year for his 50th by giving me 50 cups of coffee from Starbucks.  So if you see me spazzing around town – no, I’ll try not to drink them all at once.

I know I owe a 50 things update, which I’ll do soon – epic fail on trying to get them done in one year, but they roll right onto the permanent bucket list, so now it just becomes the Bucket List.

At the party we asked everyone to sign a poster and finish the sentence:  I’ll do an Ironman ________.  We got some great responses, including:

When Pigs Fly.  –Jesse

Been There.  Done That.  –Eric

Never.  I’m not that dumb.  –Dad

In my next life.  –Mom

If it got my British boyfriend a US work visa.  –Glenda

If you couldn’t make the party, and want your comment added to the sign, chime in below and I’ll put it down.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  I am so grateful for my circle of friends and family; I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  As I reflect, as we all do on milestone days, I think I learn from everyone I call a friend, and if I haven’t let you know that, bad on me.  In my opinion, that’s one of the highest praises I can give – that you’ve helped me grow and learn.  You make my life fuller and richer and so much fun.

Back to training, then Thanksgiving, then finals for the kids, then on and on and on.

Thanks for reading and for helping me be 50!