it is hard to know where to begin. so maybe we start with a photo of the finished product?
thirty fucking three. saying 33 out loud as my age and not just pippen’s number (felecia and i just finished rewatching the last dance docuseries a couple of weeks ago) is wild. however, after how touch and go 31 was for me, i promised myself i wouldn’t just celebrate milestone birthdays. each year is worth celebrating. each day is truly a gift. theo knows this is my mindset. that’s part of why he called me out in january. well, it is more like he called me in.
theo knows i am a planner by nature. neither of us could remember the last birthday i celebrated without looping in the appropriate parties with less than 90 days notice. so imagine theo’s surprise when it was sunday, january 15th, and he had not received an invitation to anything. february 13th was just around the corner. instead of beating me up, he asked me about each area of my life. we talked about it all – family, friends, work, wellness, love life, etc. what we realized is that each area of my life seemed off balance – so much so that with the free moments i did have, i simply did not have the capacity to plan my birthday, track rsvps and show up enthusiastically. theo got quiet and said he had something to ask me. his next words were:
“kristin. i am going to propose an idea. your natural response/gut reaction will be to say no but i urge you to ‘say yes’ anyway.” i waited to what seemed like an eternity and then he said, “i want you to let me plan and host your birthday this year.”
y’all. i was FLOORED. you know the last time someone else planned a full fledged birthday party for me was? 1999. i was turning nine and mark + felecia rented out skate depot for me and all of my little fourth grade friends. every year since then, i have taken lead on this. i’ve had some great celebrations whether i kept it local in la, turned up in vegas, went wine tasting or a boozy brunch, the thing that each year had in common was spending time with people i love. even though i nearly had a stroke at the thought of letting someone else plan my birthday, i asked myself what i would tell my clients and i knew the answer: let the people who love you show up for you – there is power in relinquishing control.
i did exactly that. the rest? well, it was magic.
my mom, misu and i showed up to one of my favorite restaurants in the bay – meso mediterranean. when i arrived, not only was our private room beautifully decorated, so many people i loved from different chapters of my life were all in one space. there was no longer a need to wonder what someone they had heard many stories about was like in the flesh because they got to soak up that energy in real time.
with each table i approached, my heart bursted all over again. the love in the room was equal parts overwhelming and intoxicating.
realizing that people had traveled up from la and down from sf/oakland/sacramento was so heartwarming.
theo had arranged a slideshow. it was amazing to see photos dating back from 2007 and was truly a testament to how we’ve watched each other grow up. we looked like babies because we were! being back at scu where it all began was such a full circle moment. being able to celebrate with people i met at scu whether it be in undergrad or in grad school while in reslife was incredible.
seeing old and new friends laugh, toast with my mom and entertain misu while i was with each guest was the best.
and just when i thought i couldn’t be more grateful, theo directed our attention to the screen below. there was video after video of loved ones who couldn’t be there to celebrate but were there in spirit. many of the messages moved me to tears. oftentimes, people don’t get their flowers while they can still smell them. i was fortunate enough to get plenty (both literally and figuratively) this past weekend.
evan (theo’s partner) not only helped theo host but took photos of me with each of my guests and gifted me the most thoughtful card and gorgeous bouquet with sunflowers. they are on my nightstand as we speak.
while i was hesitant to be vulnerable and relinquish control, i am so glad i did. there are not enough words in the english language to thank you, theo. just know i love you so much and appreciate you yesterday, today and always.
the icing on the cake? the party not ending until nearly 11pm and being able to laugh like this with my grad school bestie.
misu being in bottle service was a life goal. it has now been fulfilled!
kicking off 33 has highlighted the importance of practicing what i preach, remembering to pour into people who pour into me and always being grateful.
it truly was a happy birthday. i am looking forward to my 33rd trip around the sun.