On Saturday night, the whole family assembled in Westchester for my cousin Tara's 40th birthday party: it was a wonderful celebration of a thoughtful, generous, inclusive, fun person.
Put succinctly, Tara is good company. A big party, camping out, a wedding, dinner and a movie, hanging out with the kids, taking a trip - Tara's there and she's really there. Unlike some people I know, myself included, she's always really present, in the moment, and in tune with the people around her. So it was fun on Saturday night to see so many people present for her.
The party was at her sister and brother-in-law's house, which looked like a home from a Nancy Meyers movie (It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give). When we pulled up, the house was simply glowing - fireplaces beckoned from the inside and a path of luminarias led to the double doors. (I took a picture, but it does not do it justice at all.)
Food was abundant and delicious - passed hors d'ouevres and a great buffet in the dining room. Her youngest sister did a great job of snapping photos all night and had put together a video celebrating four decades of Tara! I always complain to Tara that I never make it into any of her Facebook photo albums, so I wasn't expecting much - but lo and behold, I made it into two photos! See me here in the background...
After the video, Tara's mom organized the group toast. Guests had been asked in advance to contribute an anecdote or single line to "Forty Reasons We Love Tara." Each quote, numbered 1 through 40, was put on an index card and sprinkled among the party guests, who took turns reading them aloud. Everyone crowded into the movie set kitchen to hear and applaud each toast.
I didn't know it then, but if I had, I would have added to the birthday quotes that there is actually a Goddess Tara, the goddess of Peace and Protection, known for her compassion,which seems so fitting for our Tara.
At the end, a few words from the birthday girl, and the party really got going! We had an early morning the next day, so we headed out, but not before taking these photos of the birthday gal. If this is what 40 looks like, I'll take it!