My sister Caroline decided to jump off the cliff and go ahead and turn 50. Jumping into the cold water of a strange and unheralded decade, she demanded that no special provisions be made. Of course, we ignored her request. So while friends and family were secretly arranging a Teddy Bear’s-style picnic in the woods, my sister Katja and I conspired to surprise her with our arrival from out of town.
Leading up to her birthday, I sent Caroline missives in the form of postcards, reminding her of the countdown with comments such as “Hello Gravity, Goodbye Bounce!!” (our family humor being dryer than a pretzel laden with salt).
Katja and I flew to San Francisco and took a ferry to Marin County. We arranged that Caroline’s husband would just happen to drive her by a stretch of road at a synchronized time, where she would discover Katja and me hitchhiking on the side of the road, holding two signs that read DESTINATION and OVER THE HILL. We were beyond giddy by the time Caroline happened upon us, and it was thus that we three sisters were reunited in the name of aging, laughing so hard that I knew there was going to be a fight over who would get to the bathroom first!
The surprise picnic in the woods was beautiful. Caroline began flinching at every new car ride or cell phone call, expecting yet another surprise. Katja and I were out of tricks. But I think we let Caroline know how appreciative we are that she was here and ours. After all, not everyone makes it to 50 — we lost some of our closest and dearest friends to AIDS. It’s an honor to get old. So Goodbye Tampons and Hello Depends!
Let’s make sure we celebrate and happily anticipate our coming of age. Get immature if you must! Remember, friends don’t let friends drive alone on their birthdays!
Tags: 50th birthday, forty, forty-plus, middle aged women, over forty, turning 50, women, women over 40, women over 50, women over forty