On Friday, the Family gathered at Pappa's Pasta in San Marcos to celebrate our Grannye's 83rd birthday. After the meal, the cake, the singing, and some impromptu interpretive dance (more on that later), our family matriarch gave us these fine words:
She said, "May you live as long and as full a life as I have, and it has been a good one. May your years be full of happiness and fun. And just remember, big families have more fun!"She then made a dirty joke about the rooster who keeps coming into our yard to steal the cat's food.
After dinner, we went out into the crisp Hill Country spring night and hung out -- the sprawling, loud lot of us -- on the veranda between Pappa's and Tres Hermanas. Savannah sang a hauntingly beautiful rendition of "My Funny Valentine" as a gift, making more than one of us teary-eyed. Michael and Chelsey, the high-schoolers, and Katya and Savannah, the middle-schoolers, played freeze tag with the younger cousins, Marian and Allison. And then, because the song on the PA system was just so fun-kay, Katya and I took to dancing like no one was watching all around the koi pond.
Only people were watching, at the bar in Pappa's. We froze for all of two seconds, and then kept right on dancing.
When we drove home that night, we were giggly. Teenage girl giggly. Like strung up on kitestrings and swaying on a fine breeze giggly. Partly because Katya is a teenage girl. Partly because I'm not a teenage girl, but I've been there and I remember what it's like.
Later that night, sitting on my patio to watch the alignment of Venus and Jupiter, along with my favorite spring constellations, Taurus, the Pleiades, and Orion, I realized what I've slowly begun to understand over the course of the last year:
I'm living the life of my dreams.
I have a strong, smart, lovely daughter, a beautiful home, four healthy, spoiled cats (one who, according to my grandmother, likes cock...), a roommate who is also my best friend, a decent job, a big-crazy-happy-fun family who enjoys each other's company, and the ability to take fantastic trips to amazing places all over the world.
When I was a little girl, younger than my daughter, this was what I hoped for in life: Love, family, cats, travel, a simple life. A good life. What's more, I'm also healthy and able to enjoy all these great comforts. I realize a lot of this comes from the way I choose to see things. But, when I think of it in these terms, the blessings out-measure the hardships by a wide margin. We are blessed, and life is sweet.
We have worked hard to get here. We have had pain and loss, too, but it has been worth it to share all of these moments together.
So that's what I hope for everyone: to live the life of your dreams. We only get this time together. Make it sweet.