A Most Perfect Birthday Picnic

Eight Years Ago
I was very close friends with four other women. We had a tradition of indulgent birthday celebrations. Whatever the birthday gal wanted, the other four made happen. We took ski trips to Lake Tahoe, saw musicals, planned trips to Vegas, the sky was the limit. When my birthday came around, they asked me, “What do you want to do? Anything you want, we’ll do it.”

“I’ve always wanted to go kayaking on the Bay. Could we rent kayaks for the day?” They exchanged looks. Finally, one of them spoke. “Well, we’d prefer not to do that. What else would you like to do?” (To be fair, one of the gals had recently had surgery on her arm, so kayaking might have been difficult.) “How about if we hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse and have a picnic?” A few moments of silence passed. “I think that would be really windy. Do you have something else you’d like to do?” Feeling somewhat defeated, I suggested the back up option that always seemed to work. “Okay, how about we go wine tasting in Napa?” “Yeah, that would take all day. We don’t really want to do that. But let us know what you want to do, and we’ll plan it.”

Not wanting to be rejected again, I said, “What would you like to do? Why don’t you plan something and we’ll do that?” And we went to dinner and a movie. Which was perfectly lovely and we had a great time.

Earlier This Year
My dear friend Emily and I were hiking at Land’s End. As we walked along, admiring the Bay and reflecting on how lucky we are to live here, she noticed a lighthouse across the bay. “I wonder if we could hike there. It looks like there would be great views from there.” I stared at her, on the verge of laughing. “Emmy Lou Lou.” She looked at me. “That’s Point Bonita Lighthouse. I’ve been wanting to hike there for the past eight years.” She smiled. “Great! That’s what we’ll do for your birthday this year!”

Ten of us met at a picnic area. I was shocked there weren’t more people there. It provided a perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. After a glass of wine and some appetizers, we set out on the easy hike. We walked down a winding path, towards the point where the lighthouse stood. We walked across the suspension bridge, swaying with the wind. We reached the tip of the point, where the lighthouse still stood from 1855. We marveled at the beauty of the sea, the lighthouse, and the surrounding cliffs. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Usually enveloped by fog, today Point Bonita basked in rays of sun. We walked back to the picnic grounds and lazed the remainder of the afternoon, enjoying great food and even better company.

It may have taken eight years to execute, but it was well worth the wait. I couldn’t imagine a better birthday celebration.

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