“Love and magic have a lot in common.  They enrich the soul, delight the heart, and they both take practice.”   From my birthday invitation

I celebrated my 50th birthday this week and was blessed by the presence of lots of friends old and new, an incredible troupe of fire dancers, a Houdini-like magician and an iconic fortune teller. The potluck was a gourmet feast, the local park building a glittering space with a great playlist.  I prepared for this fete for more than a month and spent hours crossing off items on the to-do list, but the one thing that marked the night more deeply than all the beauty and preparations I made was the unexpected gift that my children offered.

After the amazing magic show ended, my kids took the stage, each with their own copy of the script they had prepared.   Their hands were shaking and their voices were a little wobbly when they started to speak.  I thought they were cooking up a little rap number, which they have often done on lazy summer days, or a short skit about the trials and tribulations of growing up in our family.  Instead they created a tribute to love, my love for them, that I will never forget.

Each of them shared one of their critical moments growing up and looked me in the eye as they shared how my love had healed them, helped them find their way back to themselves, or shown them what it means to always have someone at your back.  They celebrated me in my deepest beliefs and highest aspirations.  They reflected what was best about me, and how it lived in them, for all to see.  I wept, I laughed, and I knew how deeply that my time here on earth had truly mattered.

My children have always been my most profound teachers, reflecting back to me truly, clearly what I am. This has not always been the most attractive reflection. Learning to love people is a messy business at best, and can be downright traumatic at times. Watching my children glittering more brightly than the twinkling lights around them after all the work we had put in together, which is what healthy relationships are made of, was the privilege, gift, and purpose of my life.

I had several old friends at that party who had, over the years, witnessed the births of my children and witnessed, on many days, when the reflections of my shortcomings were what glared the loudest. These dear friends generously served as the back bone, the coaches, the believers that in the end, what the kids would get was the best of me. I didn’t get to hear their reflections the other night, because after my kids each shared their stories, there was not much left to say- except, the fire dancers are here!

I am so blessed to know love as a real and lasting truthful place. I am so blessed to have learned that work and love are synonymous in any lasting relationship. I am so grateful to leave a trail of love in this life that I know will magnify, transform and bring joy to the world in ways I can’t even imagine. I am only 50, after all. Time is not actually brief as I have always thought, there is ample time to love, there is more than enough to go around and around again.