My birthday week was all kinds of spectacular. I started the week with a very nice lunch with a good friend who took me to dine at one of my favorite places. This same friend set the tone for my birthday by surprising me with a birthday party early in the month. She tailored the celebration with pictures of my past, a homemade birthday cake, and created a drink in my honor.

In the evening, one of my closest friends, Kristie, treated me to dinner and gave me a gift I will treasure forever. She combed through 4 years of my blog pieces and picked out favorite lines, printed them on a pieces of paper, rolled them into curly cues, and placed each one in an Inspiration Jar. She spent a month making this gift and I felt overwhelmed by her thoughtful gesture.

The week continued with 5 of my favorite gal pals treating me to an overnight stay at a local hotel accompanied by a spa day. These women rescheduled and reworked their own personal schedules to make the day special for me. The next morning, the day of my birthday, my dear friend, D, made a bouquet of cake pops and hand delivered them to me. Biting into these sweet treats, I could feel the love that it took to make them.

On the same day,my mom, my sister,and her husband, G, and my brother-in-law flew down to celebrate my 40th with me, my husband, and our daughter. We gathered around our kitchen table and I ate my favorite dish in the world, pani-puri, that was made by mom. There was so much laughter, as my mom carefully placed the chutney into each carefully constructed round flaky puri as we all commented on how good they tasted. Later I opened presents that were both thoughtful and filled with love. Later that weekend, I partied with some of my favorite people because my husband organized an open house complete with a cafe theme in our home that was overpouring with dessert and wine and live music by an acoustic guitarist. Another good friend, Whitney, closed out my birthday weekend, with a book-inspired brunch. She ordered the most thoughtful cake that I’ve ever seen. A cake that featured some of my favorite quotes like, Joan Didion’s description of this world, “Life changes in an instant. The ordinary instant.”

One word to describe my feeling: overwhelmed. The love that I felt from my family and friends filled me up with such keen joy that I felt tears brimming in the corner of my eyes.  The greatest birthday present is to really feel love in your marrow. And that is what I sensed so many times during the week of my birthday. I felt so lucky to be in the company of so many people who cared enough to take time out of their lives to celebrate with me.

With all of the celebration now in the past, I am overwhelmed in another way.A streak of melancholy vibrates within me. Perhaps it is selfish for me to confess this sadness, but it is true. My mom, sister, and my two brother-in-laws have left and the house is silent. People have retreated to the regularly scheduled programming of their own lives. And I am again forced to confront my own personal pendulum, that every moment is a potpourri of letting go and moving forward. It is so hard sometimes, though, to not want to clench on to moments that are filled with so much goodness that your heart aches from all the happiness.

One of my favorite sayings is Dr. Seuss’s quote, “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.”

Oh, how I feel every inch of these words this week.