Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We all have different hair...

This is my last week in my 30's. On Sunday I will leave this decade behind and start a new one. This doesn't bother me too much. It really is just a number. However when I was asked if I wanted a party I said no. Where to have it? Who to invite? How to feed everyone? What drinks to get in? I just didn't want the fuss.

There is a great group of us mums that have a monthly cheap and cheerful girls night out at the local yacht club. The invites go out to maybe 10 or 12 old faithfuls but on an average month there are about 8 of us who can make it. This months night out was already set in the calendar for Tuesday. The girl who sends out the reminders suggested we dress up a bit because it was so near my birthday. I am not a big drinker and often volunteer to be the driver but this time my friend Francesca insisted she drive so I could have a glass of wine. The last few weeks have been so busy. I have been working twice my normal hours covering for a colleague on holidays. When my friend Monica said "See you Tuesday" I had no idea what she was on about. She reminded me about the dinner and I said of course I would be there and then promptly forgot again.

Fast forward to yesterday. I got home from 9 hours of driving around Newcastle hospitals doing pre-admission assessments. My head was like jelly. I jumped in and out of the shower and slapped a tiny bit of make-up on while cooking dinner for the rest of the family who were all at after school activities and work. Byron's car pulled up the driveway minutes before my lift arrived. We really were ships passing in the night. A quick kiss goodbye-dinner's-on-the-table-don't-forget-to-check-Gareth's-homework and I ran down the drive into Francescas car. We nattered as she drove and I felt the tiredness lift and I looked forward to catching up with the others.

When we got to the restaurant we were the last to sit down at the table. The usual girls were there and they were all dressed up and had got me a helium balloon with "40" on it. I was chuffed. The waitress settled us all down and passed out the menus and left us to choose our food. Then the lights dimmed, the restaurant went dark then went bright again. We all looked around wondering what was up and then someone walked out of the kitchen.... Anne, my brothers Australian Mother-in-law who is a dear friend and a great person for me to lean on when I am so far from my own family. I was really chuffed that my friends had obviously thought to invite her. But then behind her walked Simi, my lovely friend from India who also has no family nearby so we both kind of adopted each other. Then Tracey from work, Then Julie from Kindy group, then Bev from Church and Kathy from book club. They just kept coming, this amazing mixture of women I have had the good fortune to meet over the eight years I have lived here in Australia. My heart was pounding and my eyes filled up as I started to realise I had been tricked. This was no quiet girls night out. This was a celebration!

I was so emotional and overawed that my friends had arranged this for me. Everyone kept saying "It was Monica, she sent the emails!" It turns out she not only sent emails but went through my facebook friends, rang my workplace and accosted women in shopping centers that she otherwise had no contact details for. She opened up the night to absolutely anyone and told everyone to just spread the word. Even Angela our local travel agent who had booked the cruise for us came along!

It was an amazing night. I am still trying to recall the details through a general fog of euphoria and emotion. My friend Jo made a speech. It was so funny, I have her notes that she scribbled on a napkin when she was asked to talk. Jo is so practical and down to earth. One of the funniest things she talked about was when Monica went to collect the cake. She had asked for "Happy 40th Birthday Gina" to be iced on it but when she collected it it said "Dina" She rang Jo flapping and asking what she should do and Jo's response was "Oh for heavens sake, it's close enough" Luckily Monica was patient enough to wait for the lady to remove the D and re-ice a G instead! For the rest of the evening I was called Dina and I think that nickname will stick for a while to come!

I was asked to give a speech and I can hardly remember a word of what I said except for one sentence. To quote the wonderful Monica yet again "We all have different hair"

This was something Monica said one day when a group of us were together and she was taking in how different and individual we were compared to another group of women sitting at a nearby table who all looked identical with their perfectly straight and glossy long brown hair. We tease Monica over that comment but yet it is so true. As I looked around the restaurant I saw a big group of women, wonderful and individual, different ages, different backgrounds, different hair. I'm so proud to be a part of this group. And so unbelievably lucky to call them my friends.

5 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. What a beautiful recollection of the night. Happy Birthday for tomorrow x

  2. What sweet friends. Happy birthday.

  3. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time (and that we managed to pull it off).

    I hope 40 is fabulous. Happy birthday xx

  4. What a special and fun night! Happy Birthday!!!

  5. Dina/Gina
    It was certainly a combined effort by many people but very easy and lots of fun to organise because everyone that went along to the dinner wanted to be there for you.