Yesterday was my kids 21st birthday. About a week or so ago she came to me and asked if I could arrange a dinner with some of our closest friends, apologizing that she waited so long to ask since she knew everyone is very busy this time of year. I told her not to worry that I would make it happen. Everyone on the list eagerly replied they would be attending. A menu was set and presents were bought, everything was ready to go.
She showed up an hour before the guests started arriving. She happily helped clear off the back deck of a winters worth of leaves while I prepped the vegetables for dinner. The husbeast went about marinating the steaks as she and I cleaned off the outdoor table and chairs. The weather was so nice we decided that dinner would be had outside.
Slowly people began to arrive. There were nine of us in total, so the house was soon full of the smells of cooking food and the laughter of good friends. The smile on my kids face could have lit Broadway, and it didn't stop all night.
The boys hauled the dining room table out onto the deck so we would have room to sprawl out as we ate. One of our friends is a sommelier, and he began pouring glasses of wine and passing it around to those who were partaking. The steaks were divine, a specialty of the husbeast, and the asparagus was grilled to perfection. Everything was just right.
I sat back after my plate was cleared and watched my friends chatting in the moonlight and enjoying their meals and eachothers company. There was an easy comfort that comes from truly close friends. Conversation easily flowed from one topic to another and laughter filled the warm spring night air.
Finally the june bugs got to us and we quickly headed inside. The entire house smelled like cherry cobbler, which was still baking in the oven. My mother taught me long ago to put the cobbler in just before you sit down to eat, and by the time you are ready for desert it will be ready.
Everyone settled in around the living room and the conversation began again. This time there were three or four conversations going at any one time, and people would pause to answer another conversation before returning to their own. It was an organized chaos that comes from people who know each other so well.
My best friend curled up beside me as we chatted. My kid laid on my other side allowing me to pet her hair the way she so likes. She mostly sat quietly watching and listening to the group. I could see her enjoying watching everyone enjoy each others company, knowing that they were there together because of her.
Finally we had to admit it was a school night, and one by one the guests began to head out for home. Kisses and hugs were exchanged, we told each other 'I love you', and affirmed that we would see them in a few days. At last it was just my kid curled up in my lap.
"Did you have a good birthday?" I asked as I ran my fingers through her hair.
"Perfect." she said with a sleep contented smile.