Best Party Ever
As someone whose mouth dries out even under the luke-warmest of spotlights (running into a single acquaintance can trigger a full-on hot flash) my approaching 60th presented my family with a conundrum:
How do you celebrate a big birthday for a borderline-recluse?
Reluctantly honoring my wishes about not having a large-scale celebration (I may have demurred with something gracious like, 'I'd rather chew off my left foot -- thanks, though,') they instead organized a surprise -- something longer-lasting, more personal and much, much better. They dipped into my address book (don't be insulted if you weren't solicited--you probably were--a lot of the requests got bounced back); and reached out to friends (and even a couple people who were probably like, Erika Who? ) for memories to be included in a birthday book.
It's like fifty pages of incredible.
And really if you are ever at a loss about what to get someone, this is it. (While yours should probably be a tad more individualized I am open to mass producing mine.)
People from all stages of my life submitted things. Like this gem:
A young man, who lived with us while working for the Obama campaign, wrote that I was his best roommate. Ever. One of my nieces commented about the size of my sunglasses, suggesting that i don't need to provide coverage for other people's eyes. Another memorialized the time my brother and I drove a car full of juveniles up to Cape Cod to visit our other brother. We jury-rigged the TV with pillows to dampen the sound. It caught fire. My birthday missive contained this: '...and you and my dad giving zero shits about your children's safety."
Other relatives conceded that I am the funniest Raskin. (Well, one or two did and the rest should have.)
Friends commented on my hospitality (I don't like to leave home, ergo...) and Tess, my grandgirl of few words, submitted the following:
And more than a few mentioned my profound love for the people in my life. Which is so very true.
If you want to send along more more messages, please do! I'll include them in the second edition.