On Saturday night, I finally had the party I'd been talking about for years. I've said many times that if I wasn't married again by the time I was 50, then I wanted to have a big 50th birthday party that would be like a wedding... Who needs a groom?
When I got laid off last summer, I realized the budget would have to be cut, but I was determined to still have a big party to celebrate love. I also figured I might as well celebrate my book release at the same time since The Laptop Dancer Diaries: A Mostly True Story About Finding Love Again is, indeed, a book about love.
The party was more than I could have hoped for. Better than a wedding! I didn't even have to share the attention with anyone! I was surrounded by so many friends and people I love. Yesterday, I basked in after-party happiness as I slowly cleaned up, coming across cards and gifts that were left for me. There just is no thank you note to express my gratitude, but I'll try. Here are some of the people I'd like to thank:
* All the people who played the "party game", sending music, photos, videos, and leaving love quotes on my party site. Special thanks to Lori Genuchi who not only scored the most points, but wore a beautiful gown with special meaning.
* Rebecca Ritter and her daughter, Miriam, who took took me shopping at Costco for all the party food.
* Lynn Tidd, the flower genius, who made the most beautiful flower arrangements ever!
* Mr. 2010 who worked to give me a beautiful basement stairwell, newly painted with recessed lighting before the party, took me shopping for all the booze, took pictures, served drinks, provided a party game, and basically was perfect in every way.
* Craig Dunham, the man who's taught me the most about faith and who came from Evergreen and dare-deviled his wheelchair over precariously steep steps -- and Kirk Ryder for helping him get here.
* All the friends and family who were remote, but still sent me emails, called me, or participated in the party, including Ian Usher, who even sent a video from Nepal.
* Rebecca Mullen who sent me the special Optimizer Elixir package and video to help me promote my book. Her support and encouragement is unparalleled.
* Brian Thulson who learned, sang, and recorded Hallelujah with the new lyrics so that I could create a slideshow put to music. (This also saved my guests from having to listen to me try to sing the song!)
* All the friends who brought creative cards and gifts representing love (satisfying both the inner-Devil and inner-Angel!) I had so much fun opening them and finding fun surprises!
* All the people who have read, critiqued, edited, bought, or were IN the book! Thank you for such support.
* Chris Tidd, my good-natured son-in-law with the wonderful sense of humor who managed to make me look forward to being the subject of a roast.
* My three incredible children: Meg Tidd, Matt Podlogar, and Scott Podlogar. I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am, so I won't try. Just suffice to say that they were the best birthday presence ever.
The acknowledgment section of my book tells the story of a time I was lost on the first day of 3rd grade. My first grade teacher helps me and smiles such a warm smile and I vow to remember her smile forever. I told that story at my party and made "love notes" for my friends to remind them of a time they did a kindness for me that I'll keep with me always, like that smile.
Well, the party was a whole lot of smiles piled together into one enormous bear hug that comforts me so deeply. No matter what ups and downs life will bring, I will close my eyes and remember that feeling. No matter who moves in and out of my life, there is one thing I know will not change. I am loved. And just like Mrs. Lehman's smile, I will vow to remember that love and keep it with me forever.