This Sunday, an unusual thing happened. My friend Marilyn stopped by with a parcel. That wasn’t too unexpected, so I invited her in for a cup of tea. I was giving her a tour of my house (aka: the house I went back to work to afford), when I noticed my friend Astrid outside, holding another parcel. I started to get suspicious. And then Selah and baby Morgan showed up. Then Laura and Joe, and Judith. Yep. That’s right. It was a surprise birthday flash mob.
Selah, the ring leader, in cahoots with my husband, had set the whole thing up. I was completely snookered. In retrospect, there were clues, and it was delicious fun to think back and see the scaffolding of the plan going up. I always, always, had wanted a surprise birthday party. So it was fun and thrilling.
And then they attacked me with henna. Yep, you haven’t lived until you’ve had Astrid come at you with a syringe full of dye and a gleam in her eye.
People drew designs on me both fun and meaningful. Selah, who’s birth I’d attended as a labor partner/doula, drew a caduceus. Judith drew lightning bolts to help me skate faster. Kai drew a Mayan calendar. Marilyn drew plants to help my garden thrive. Astrid filled in my skating number and drew a sine wave. Laura drew a spider for my spinning. And Eric filled in the back of my neck with a set of beautiful spirals.
The hardest part was having to sit still for hours while the henna dried. I’m not a sit-still kinda gal.
But it fit in nicely with my New Year’s resolution: be happy doing less. For the past two decades, I’ve cranked my main spring tighter and tighter each year to get more work out of me, both professionally and on personal projects. This year I’m working on building in emptiness and down time into my schedule. To be a human being, instead of a human doing.
What did the people at work say about my arms being covered in henna tattoos? Absolutely nothing. I think after spending a year with me, nothing I do surprises them anymore. That or Amazon is just an incredibly cool place to work for.