Last year, in honor of my sixtieth birthday, I compiled a list of the 60 most influential women in my life.
The list included family members, friends, poets, activists and authors.
I intended to write a blog about each person on the list.
I considered gathering recipes from each person, living or dead. I already have Emily Dickinson’s “Black Cake” recipe! My list, and the essays, combined with photos and recipes could be assembled into a nice book, I thought.
In the course of the entire last year, I wrote three essays on women from my list: Mom (#1), Johanna Spyri (#38) and Emma Jean (#24).
That’s me, full of ideas…brimming with good intentions. My life is punctuated by unfinished projects!
Still, it was a good exercise, just writing the names. It caused me to think about who influenced my life, and how, and why.
For my birthday this year, I’m counting blessings.
First, two parents who loved their children and always did their best.
Five grandparents: four that I knew personally and loved; one that I was acquainted with only through her photo – always on display in my childhood home – and the stories my Dad told.
Ten siblings: I’m eternally grateful for every single one of them. Each one – even those that died in infancy – has helped to guide and shape my life.
Two daughters: by far the most heart-wrenching, soul-stretching, life-enriching blessings in my life.
Four strong, smart and handsome grandsons.
One charming, intelligent and beautiful granddaughter.
Three in-laws: father, mother and sister, who I’m glad to have known.
Seventeen nieces and nephews. And now their children…and their children’s children.
Other relatives: aunts and uncles and cousins.
Friends: I’m happy to say I’ve gained at least as many as I’ve lost over the years, and appreciate every single one.
Two sweet dogs.
Three one-hundred-year-old Maple trees on the north side of my house.
Six jobs. No, maybe seven.
Two vehicles: both in good running order.
One non-running vehicle that has served me well as a “garage”.
A fresh, unopened bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream.
My mother’s hope chest!
Paul McCartney’s autograph!!
Almost one hundred birthday greetings on my Facebook page!
Cards and gifts from family and friends!
Phone calls from loved ones on my birthday!
Clearly, I should be much older than this.
Sixty-one is too small a number, for counting all the blessings in my life!