Debra Prinzing

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Happy birthday to me

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
Celebrating my first birthday, February 28, 1960, with my mother, Anita

Celebrating my first birthday, February 28, 1960, with my mother, Anita

It pains me to admit it, but I was born 50 years ago today.

But one of my hip, young friends told me she thought I was 41, so I totally love her for that.

The hardest thing about turning 50 is that my mother can’t quite believe she has a 50-year-old child.

My mother is the youngest person I know. She is an artist and a writer and she has more curiosity about life than I will ever have. She also has patience, kindness, empathy and incredible courage.

I think today is more about celebrating Anita Louise Ford Prinzing than anything else. Thank you, Mom. You are the best. (Thank you, Dad, too. You are also the best!)

My husband has turned the five-year birthday mark into an art form. When I turned 40, our boys were 2 and 7. Bruce surprised me by flying my mother to Seattle to take care of them so we could go to Palm Springs for the weekend.

When I turned 45, he flew me on Business Class to London and arranged for me to spend 5 days visiting the Chelsea Flower Show and other awesome gardens (including Wisley, Great Dixter, and Sissinghurst). A magical, unforgettable trip. The pressure was on for turning 50.

But I decided to take matters into my own hands to plan my 50th b-day and also Bruce’s and my 25th wedding anniversary (which is in August). So I booked two weeks at Villa Maddalena, a magical and ancient villa that our friend Marcia has renovated. It is situated in a small Tuscan village called Montisi. At the end of October, I will get to spend one week there with many of my girlfriends. And then, the following week, Bruce and my sons will come for a family vacation – to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

When I invited my girlfriends to make the trip, I wrote something a little carefree (careless?).

Live large, people. The economy is in the toilet; the publishing world is spiraling into a ghost of its former self. Oh well. What’s left to do but eat pasta and drink Chianti?  

This kind of cavalier attitude might be what gets us through the current malaise of life. Many of us are in a waiting pattern. . . waiting for life to get back on track, waiting for things in Washington to sort themselves out, waiting for a job, waiting for the housing market to rebound. We have to find the joy, the surprise, the spontaneity. Birthdays allow us to do just that. We have one day every year to be self-indulgent and frivolous. Oh, but there’s one problem. I have two story deadlines today. UGH.

Even so. . . it will be a day of laughter, family, friends, and celebration – as I think about that Tuscany trip in October.