Happy 60th Birthday, Janet and Maryanne!
Today, I am thinking of two of my dearest friends who have recently each celebrated their 60th birthday. I am a student now, so my gift-giving budget is non-existent, but I can give my words as an offering of my love and respect for these two women.
I met Janet and Maryanne when living in Geneva, Switzerland. Both worked for the United Nations, as I did, and both were originally from the US, as I am.
Over the 18 or so years that I’ve known Janet and Maryanne, we’ve commiserated over relationship problems (usually mine) and the perks and challenges of working for the United Nations and living abroad. We’ve raised children into adults, gone back to school for graduate degrees to continue our own growth and shared countless jokes, meals and bottles of wine.
What they may not know, however, is that their friendship has been a lifeline. I value them each as sisters. They have always been there for me and always accepted me for who I am; imperfect. At a time in my life when I was definitely finding my path, they made me feel I belonged. In a country I didn’t know, but soon came to love, they made me feel at home.
I imagine sitting in my old VW convertible at the top of Mont Salève, seats reclined, with blankets and pillows, watching the Perseid meteor shower one August night. Maryanne and I giggled at nothing in particular as we listened to Pink Floyd while the sky lit up for our delight.
Or I imagine the many times I got to sing with Janet and how she, literally, helped me find my voice. At one rehearsal, she put one hand on my belly, the other on my lower back, and simultaneously pushed both hands in to make me stand straighter and yelled, “Sing, damn it. Sing!”
And so today, I raise a toast to Janet and Maryanne on their recent birthdays and wish them many more celebrations to come. We are no longer neighbors, and who knows where we will end up in the future, but one thing I know, is that they will always be in my heart. Happy Birthday, my dear friends!