My sister Kathy approached the occasion of her 50th birthday party with unfettered glee.
She mingled, hugged, high-fived, sang, chatted, reminisced, tasted, sipped, posed, and, utterly unfazed by the number on the top of her cake, happily wished as she blew out her candles. Unsure which of her favorite two outfits she should wear, Kathy chose both, changing, Kardashian-like, midway through the festivities.
Billed as a recreation of a party that had landed Kathy and her friends in some trouble 33 years ago, Kathypalooza turned out to be a celebration of joy.
“This is how we do family,” Kathy’s stepson Traveain (DJ Tra) said as he supervised the music.
And, that’s exactly how it felt.
Friends and family flew in from each coast, drove up, down, and from across the state to celebrate with her.
Classmates, some of whom denied being at the original party, some of whom proudly owned their role in the original party, and several of whom glanced nervously at our mother, their still-miffed high school English teacher Mrs. Kostelnik, as they reminisced, gathered to toast lasting friendship.
In-laws, out-laws, nieces, nephews, godchildren and the ageless Granny Thelma all made the trek to toast Kathy’s milestone.
I’ve chronicled Kathy’s health journey pretty thoroughly on this blog, so let me just say that, given her all of that and her determined joie de vie, it was especially fun to celebrate a milestone birthday with a sister who, apparently better than any of us, knows how to enjoy a good party.
The older we get, the more we all understand the fleeting nature of life and the genuine privilege of joyful moments.
I’ll close with a version of this song I first heard when Mira Bhayroo, then six-years old, sang it to us with a delightful South African accent.
Happy birthday to you. May your dream all come true. May you always walk in sunshine. Happy birthday to you.
P.S. I may have taken a photo or two…