I’ve put off writing this post, not because I am ungrateful, but because every time I think about it, I cry. Plus, I keep hearing you shouldn’t get personal on blogs that publishing professionals might read. Well, to those of you who know me, you know I delve into my personal life from time-to-time and I post rants I shouldn’t. I suppose, when the time comes, I just need to hope I find an agent and publishing house who accept me for who I am.
Saturday at RMFW was September 12. We had planned Tara’s surprise baby shower for that night. It was also my birthday. Behind the scenes, there was some drama unfolding in another state that could easily turn deadly or at the very least result in police calls. I was having a hard time concentrating and spent a lot of time on the phone checking the status of the situation.
Beth caught me alone and asked if I could get Tara out of the lobby at a certain time so Julie F. could get the balloons through the lobby without her seeing them. Sure, I could do that.
We were all sitting in the lobby later and I asked Tara if she had any fingernail clippers as I had forgotten mine. Why on earth I thought that would be a good ploy to get Tara out of the lobby, I have no idea.
Beth offered me hers.
NO! I need to go to Tara’s room so Tara can take me up there and I can get Tara out of the lobby.
“Thanks, but it’s my toenail and I don’t want to take my boot off in the lobby.”
Tara had some so we went to her room. While we were there, she decided to iron a blouse. It looked painful to me, so I offered to do it for her.
I’m so clever. I lured Tara away from the lobby and she was none the wiser.
We returned to the lobby later and there were two tables set up in the bar with huge balloon bouquets with candy scattered everywhere like a Hansel and Gretel baited trap. I was tickled to pieces for Tara’s surprise. I was away from the bar in another part of the lobby and Lisa told me to look closer. There was a big birthday balloon bouquet.
I suppose I should have suspected something, but for the most part, my birthdays mostly go unnoticed.
The year my dad had his stroke, I was alone in Montana and going to the VA hospital daily as we didn’t know if he was going to make it from one day to the next. The night before my birthday, I baked up dozens and dozens of sugar free banana muffins to give to the staff and patients at The Fort as the hospital in Helena is called. I had already asked the staff and they said it was fine. So, I waited until they took Dad for more testing and made the rounds handing out banana muffins to everyone.
Don sent me flowers that year. He was usually too busy to do much more than call, wish me a happy birthday and promise we would go out soon to eat. He never quite found the time and I invariably told him to forget it when he kept putting it off.
Will always remembered my birthday. His last birthday card was a Pirates of the Caribbean one that played the theme song. I played it so much I wore out the battery.
So, I really didn’t expect anything aside from maybe someone wishing me happy birthday. When Lisa pointed out the birthday bouquet, I started bawling like a baby. I’m crying again as I write this.
I was so embarrassed I turned my back and refused to go over there, but she dragged me back like a future show calf with his first halter. I’m sure there are still skid marks in the carpet.
That’s when I learned Janet Reid had been a prime instigator in the surprise birthday party. The Gnomies had secret posts going back and forth about the birthday party with Miss Janet sans me. We had secret posts going back and forth about the surprise baby shower sans Tara. Then we had the myriad emails with contact info, hotel info, restaurant arrangements, cupcake bash, class schedules, attire, altitude sickness, retreat plans and numerous other things going back and forth about RMFW sans the Gnomies who weren’t going. Plus, there were the regular writing emails circulating. How everyone kept all the lists straight without accidentally sending the wrong email to the wrong person and spilling the beans I have no idea.
I divided the night between crying and giggling. It was absolutely one of the best nights of my life. I love my writing friends because they not only accept me for who I am, but they are also a very talented and supportive group of writers. If not for them, I’m sure I would have given up years ago. My writing circle has expanded to include the marvelous agents Janet Reid and Rachelle Gardner.
Regardless of where life takes us, this is one very special time in my life I’m sure I will remember forever. The greatest gift of all is to love and be loved and to all of you who have shown me that love, I give you a very special thanks…and more tears.