First of all, I still feel terrible that when Catherine called me last night, I started rambling on and on about my apartment search issues and other random stuff. It was when she started to tell me how her birthday festivities went that evening that I realized it was not February 7th, but the 8th...
I love my friends' birthdays; I think of them as sacred points on the calendar--days on which people who have made indelible impressions on my heart and life entered the world. So, I felt more than a little remiss when one of the most important women in my life had to subtly remind me...
What can I say about Catherine? She is the kind of friend who will let you yammer on and on about nonsense and not even feel the need to assert "It's my birthday, Idiot! Why are you talking to me about your laundry?!" And when you realize your gaffe, she tells you that you are beautiful, and silly, and most of all, forgiven.
It is a testament to the warmth of her spirit that I feel accepted and unself-conscious when I'm around her. I don't know anyone feistier, who is more of a dynamo, who is more willing to keep going, keep trying, all while making every effort to be honest, but never at the expense of compassion.
I always tell her that she is philanthropic to a fault. Catherine looks for ways to meet a need for a friend or a stranger, and if you are ever in town, she fully expects you to make yourself at home with her. This past year, in celebration of my birthday, she cooked for me, planned things I would enjoy for us to do every day that I was with her, and managed to make me feel that my happiness and comfort was what she cared about most.
So, at just one year shy of 30, this is the woman she is. A voracious reader, a clown, a community organizer and volunteer, an aspiring writer, a savante in the art of dinnerparties, a baker, a maker of blankets and bread, and the friend who always knows what to say to talk you down off a ledge when you're at your wit's end.
Happy birthday, honey. Salud.