I wasn’t excited about turning seventy-five. I would have been happy to put it off for, let’s say, a decade. On the other hand, it would be a non-Thanksgiving opportunity to get everyone in the family together.
Despite the bitter cold and freezing winds in New York City last weekend, I had one of the best birthdays of my life.
I was not involved in the planning. I know it wasn’t easy. The grandchildren in Maryland had to get out of school early, their parents had to battle DC’s Beltway and the Holland Tunnel in a long-weekend traffic jam, and our always-traveling son had to fit in some time between trips to Korea and Brazil. But somehow it all came together.
We stayed in a très chic hotel next to the High Line, a park created from a once-to-be-demolished elevated train track, in New York’s (also) très chic meatpacking district. Our rooms had gorgeous Hudson River views from their floor-to-ceiling windows. My only request had been to see the 9/11 Memorial so we joined the throngs of people paying their respects at the World Trade Center on a cold, gray Saturday morning.
Eating is a high priority for our family, and we did a lot of that. Walking is important when you do a lot of eating so we did a lot of that too, only using cabs or the subway or ducking into a Whole Foods market when frostbite threatened.
But what really matters is that the weekend reassured me that I haven't done such a bad job of being a wife, mother, colleague and friend. There were a lot of tears (all mine), as I made an individual toast to each member of my beloved family at our Saturday night, adults-only dinner. There were more tears (still all mine) at my Sunday birthday lunch over my present, 75 Twitter-Length Tributes to Judy Kugel from friends, family and colleagues.
I will treasure it for as long as I have birthdays.