November 16, 2018

Turning 50 in San Francisco

I had a spectacular birthday. It was the perfect way to usher in my 50’s and since it was a milestone worthy of something special, I celebrated with purpose and will look back at turning 50 with great happiness. I was not anxious about my birthday, but rather reflective of my life and exited to begin a new decade. I am quite certain that life will be fabulous at 50.

I flew to San Francisco the morning of my birthday. The flight was uneventful, which is always a good thing when flying. We went directly to the Palace Hotel. It was my first time staying there, even though I have wanted to for a long time. The Palace is divine. From the décor, to the staff, to the spectacular atrium, this place is magical and I was thrilled to be there.

It is a historical gem and my son had called ahead to tell them we were celebrating. They upgraded us to a wonderful room and we arrived to a lovely birthday cake from the hotel and champagne from special friends. They treated us like we mattered to them and I appreciated it. Customer service is a lost art but the Palace Hotel has mastered it from top to bottom.

After we checked in we headed to the Ferry Building and famer’s market. We walked around and tasted some amazing food while we shopped and bought things we fell in love with. Important to note that I had a bialy at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen and it was the single best bialy I have ever had, and the cream cheese was perfection. I would move to SF for it.

After a couple hours of strolling, shopping, and eating, we came across an artist selling pieces of driftwood. I saw one that spoke to me on a profound level and my son bought it for me. It reads. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”, which is a quote by Robin Williams. I absolutely love it and will treasure it always, especially since I am embracing bravery.

We headed back to the hotel and relaxed for a short while before heading to the Golden Gate Bridge. I wanted to do something brave to mark the occasion and so walking across the bridge was going to be it. I had never walked it before, and neither had my son, it became quite special that we were going to do it together. I was scared, but very determined.

We started across the bridge and I feel quite comfortable telling you I cannot remember the last time I was so scared. It was windy and I was certain we were going to get blown over the railing. It is very high, very crowded, with lots of people riding their bikes past you. I was terrified. I couldn’t even take any pictures because I was too scared to look up.

By the time we got to the other side I was not only shaking, but totally excited to walk back. We had to move quickly before I could change my mind, and we started the return trip. It was exhilarating and empowering. When we got to the middle my son insisted we take a picture to prove we did it, which was really great. I felt brave and bold and excited to be 50.

We went back to the hotel, got ready for dinner, and enjoyed a lovely meal. We spoke of not only the experiences of the day, but our lives and dreams for the future. I have loved this child for longer than he has been alive. I wanted to be a mother since I was little and my son is the most wonderful human being I know. Dinner was fun and I was counting my blessings.

The next morning we woke up early and headed to the San Francisco Botanical Garden. There was a light mist of rain and I was overwhelmed by the beauty. I cried as I strolled through the million shades of green and it was very special. I was cried because I felt happy, peaceful, and grounded. I am blessed to have the life I do and be mother to my remarkable son.

We spent two hours strolling though the gardens, talking, laughing, running through sprinklers, and discovering plants, trees, flowers, and amazing animals. It was a beautiful morning. We headed back to the hotel and had an amazing breakfast at Grove Yerba Buena. If you’re in San Francisco we highly recommend this place. Try the lavender lemonade. Perfection.

We spent the afternoon shopping, great shoes for my boy, earrings for me, then we stumbled upon a Neiman Marcus outlet store and all bets were off. I bought the most beautiful purse and wallet. I was just getting started when I received an email from Southwest Airlines telling us our flight was delayed 3 hours. I called but was given no reason why there was a delay.

I am not a great flyer so I wanted to change planes and we ended up getting on a flight leaving from Oakland instead of SF. I was very happy we switched planes as we got another email that the original flight was now delayed 4 hours. We wrapped up our day and headed to Oakland with enough time to have a cocktail and nosh before we took off and headed home.

It was the perfect trip with a perfect young man, and I will remember our adventure for the rest of my life. I turned 50 and managed to get more fabulous. The only thing left to do was have a birthday party, which was so great it really needs a separate blog. Thank you to my son and San Francisco, for memories that will forever be part of my keeping the faith