Today I’m thankful for a great time with great friends.
Last night Becky threw a birthday party for my 40th birthday. I wanted it to be very small and intimate, a small gathering of some of the people I love most in the world. If we were going to be celebrating my old age I wanted to make sure it was a very small group so I could remember everyone’s name! A group of about 20 of us got together at the Stein Haus in La Crosse, an absolutely awesome German bar in downtown La Crosse.
While the beer flowed and great German food was eaten I had an excellent time. It was a room full of some of the most loved friends in my life and I enjoyed every second of being able to spend time with them. The only negative of the night was that there just wasn’t enough time to spend all the time I would’ve like to with each of my friends one on one and in larger groups. It felt like our wedding, trying to spend time with everyone, but always wishing there was more time (on second thought that really sounds like life, doesn’t it?). In all honesty, that was why I wanted to keep it a very small party. Any more than we had and I’m afraid I would’ve missed some conversations.
Between having some family, some childhood friends, and some La Crosse friends we had quite the collection of personalities and stories to share. In some ways it was pretty wild, like worlds colliding. People I’ve known my whole life (my mom, duh!) or almost my whole life (Rick and I have been friends since we were like three years old, James and Garwood shortly thereafter). People I’ve become friends with since moving to La Crosse thanks to outgoingness, gregariousness, and charisma of Brian Erickson during our first season of broomball. People that I’ve gotten to know just recently through kids, but have very quickly bonded very quickly with. It was crazy to hear things like “so how do you know Mike?” There were those cool moments of recognition as some friends saw other friends they’d maybe only met once or twice before. In a weird way it was kind of like the way I wish you could have a funeral before your died. I know, that probably sounds really weird, but think about it for a moment. Why do we wait until someone is gone to celebrate them? Shouldn’t we do that more often and while they are there to enjoy the moment with us?
I’d be completely remiss to neglect mentioning my overwhelming gratitude for Becky. If it wasn’t for her the party never would have happened. In my head I kept thinking that I should skip having any type of a party and just quietly slip into middle age alone. As I’ve gotten used to over the past 16+ years, Becky was right, and I wasn’t technically wrong, but she was more correct. 😉
Throughout the night everyone was engaged in conversation almost constantly, and it was great having all of us completely in the moment and enjoying each others’ company. As a matter of fact, we were all so engaged and lost in the moment that this morning we realized just how few pictures any of us had taken. Knowing subconsciously that we only had a limited amount of time together each of us chose to share stories and interact as opposed to step out of the present to take a picture.
As I was replaying most of the night through my head today one thing kept popping back up in my head and every time it has I’ve smiled. Rick got me a little something engraved with a saying that really summed up the night…
As I read the engraving and type this blog my eyes tear up a little and I am even more thankful for great friends. We shared memories, made memories, and had a great time together. I am incredibly blessed, fortunate, and thankful to have been able to share a great time with great friends.