tears of oy

In ALL, PHOTOGRAPHY by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

There comes a point on your actual birthday where people ask you the birthday questions.  “Sooooo, how does it feel?”  I don’t like this question.  It’s right up there with, “Did everything come out okay?” when returning from the bathroom (my father asked me both questions all my life).  “Get anything good?”  “Feel any older?”  Blah. Blah.  Now, “what did you wish for last year?” is an interesting question, though few of us remember.  This birthday, I want to wish for something I’ll remember.

Last year, my friends threw me a birthday party at Pop Burger.  There were too many people, so I wasn’t able to really connect with anyone, so worried about showing my appreciation to all those who made it out.  This year, I wanted to make certain I’d be sans stress and with some of my favorite people.  I wanted intimate. It doesn’t get more intimate than skinny dipping, now does it?

Friday night we went to Madam Tong’s and practically ordered the entire menu.  The wine selections were clearly favorites of mine.  Sauvignon Blanc and a kickass Rioja.  “Clearly” because I drank enough to be photographed wearing a spoon.  I left with Heather on my arm singing Fiddler on The Roof songs.  “For Pappa, make him a scholar.  For Mamma, make him rich as a king.  For me, well, I wouldn’t argue if he were as handsome as any-thing!”  The boys knew it was time for us to leave.  We returned to the house, where I practically fell asleep in a closet.  Good times.

Saturday morning, I headed to King Kullen with Phil and Derek while the rest of the house was asleep.  I received a text message from ADAM saying he left Boston at 3am and should be arriving soon. I might have screamed.  I rarely get to see Adam, but when I do, I am at my happiest and most comfortable.  He’s like soup and over sized socks.   Back at the house, the boys play tennis, why the rest of us do bagels poolside.  Monique phones from Philadelphia, “I’m sorry I can’t come.  Amtrak isn’t running.”  I wanted to cry.  I LOVE Monique.  LOVE.  Whenever she’s in town, I say the same thing.  “Phil, I need to go.  Monique will be there, and I LOVE HER.”
He rolls his eyes.  “You love everyone.”  This is not true. Though it seems true.  Especially at the wine tasting come afternoon.

We lounged by the pool shoveling in homemade guacamole courtesy of Derek, sipping darling cocktails courtesy of Cocktails By Jenn.  The appletini was my favorite.  I watched Jen OCD out, trying to remove the bugs floating in the hot tub.  Kim looked like my brown little bean, all tan in the sun.  I wrote in the hammock.  Then the crying began at the vineyard.

Who needs pool chlorine or make-up remover when you spend the weekend crying?  I was quite the opposite of upset; I was overjoyed.  Simply put, I am in LOVE with my friends.  In love, like I want to squeeze them and not let go, but I’m afraid I’ll hurt them with how hard I want to squeeze.  Once we were mostly all seated in our tasting room, Amy suggested they go around the table and tell their Stephanie stories.  How we met or how I changed their lives.  They each began with “I love Stephanie because…”  How could I NOT cry from that?  It was so special, hearing things I didn’t know.  Learning how much of an impact I have in their lives.  Of course, I couldn’t keep shut and insisted on doing the same.  So I went around the table and told everyone how special each of them are to me.  That’s when everyone else began to cry.

My phone buzzed.  Monique made it after all!  I scooped her up from Candy Kitchen, and scurried her back home for some dinner. Then came food, a Buttercup Cafe delicious cake, Amy’s homemade lasagna,and lots of thoughtful, very meaningful, gifts.  In truth, and this is not at all bullshite… the real gift was having each of them there with me.  I felt so special and blessed.

I also felt sad. Two of my closest friends weren’t there.  I phoned each of them. Wait!  Michael was on his way, driving from a wedding he’d attended in Philadelphia.  He arrived during a viewing of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Now I felt better.  I couldn’t have imagined a better birthday had I wished for it when I blew out the candles. And to round it off, Sunday night, Monique stayed in the city with me to see Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven.  Where we rounded off the weekend with more tears, followed by ice cream.  Not bad at all.

View more photos from the weekend >>


  1. Happy Birthday Ms. Klein. Sincerely. :-) Question: Who is the Belinda Carlisle lookalike? I'm sure I don't need to point her out. The resemblance is uncanny.

  2. Happy Birthday Stefanie,
    thanx for bringing so much joy into peoples …into my life with your Weblog! I just love your photographies. They are a great inspiration to me!
    Anyway, Happy Birthday from Germany!!

  3. The photos speak for themselves, just in case you don't update this post tonight. Looks like you are off to an amazing year. May you always be surrounded by such good and beautiful friends, eating and drinking and laughing–that is what life is really all about. Happy Birthday!

  4. ah.. i think i'm in love with the girl in the pink bikini… ps.. happy birthday.. ain't life a blast !

  5. Happy Birthday! I turned 30 earlier this year and I have to say that it was especially emotional too–this is when you realize how far you've come, how great your friends are, how much they've been there for you and how they feel more like family than your real family.

    P.S. I love reading your blog!

  6. Hey! Happy birthday! It's rare that people get the chance to have at least a handful of friends who they sincerely 'love'. You're very fortunate.

  7. You look great for turning 30 – if I hadn't known your age I'd have guessed you were no older than 25. Seriously. How do you do it? I'm glad you had a happy birthday. You deserve it.

  8. Hey Stephanie…

    I can only hope the next 10 years of my life lead me to where you are. I turned 20 yesterday and you're a complete and utter inspiration full of beauty and grace… and honesty. You speak volumes for so many women out there, and everything I always wished I could be myself. I'm happy to say I at least have similiar curly hair and a similiar birthday :) I can't wait for the books, and the next update. Just… thanks. And, happy birthday!

  9. The girl in the pink suit…has an ass to die for!! Not an ounce of cellulite! It's just not fair!

  10. Happy Birthday! Great photos.
    I have read text about you in Italian GQ and see that our blogs were born with one day difference (my on January 19, 2004) which I find kind of fun

  11. Great pics but…where are the drugs, darling? I was hoping to see some candid shots of your buddies snorting it up Kate Moss stylee.

  12. I love the comment about 'being in love with my friends'. I think that people spend too much time obsessing about a mate, while spending too little time with their friends. They're different, but equally important. I'd even go so far as to suggest that not everyone should have a spouse and/or family, but everyone has to have friends.

  13. Isn't that you Stephanie in the pink suit with the long, curly, pretty red hair? You look great by the way–happy 30th!

  14. Happy birthday, Stephanie! It looks like you had a great weekend… I can't wait to hear more about your friends, they sound fabulous. You're very fortunate.

  15. This is kinda random…..but how come no one looks hungover? I just partied it up with my friends in Lake Tahoe over the weekend and jesus….I'm still recovering!
    Do you guys get hangovers and if not, why not? I, too, am just about 30 and I can't drink like I used to.
    (Happy 30th, by the way.)

  16. HA! I nearly forgot about us singing! That was so funny. Okay, maybe less funny to the two gents in the car with us, but whatever… we were GOOD.

  17. Wow, those are great photos Stephanie. You and your friends are ALL beautiful. Happy Birthday. I hope my 30th in June is as much fun.

  18. Happy Birthday! I love Stephanie Klein because she is fearless. She inspires me to follow my dreams and to keep a smile on my face. It has been such a blessing to have this tiny web connection with someone who seems to see things the way that I do. Keep your chin up, kiddo, and keep writing!

  19. Happy birthday, Stephanie! I never comment but I had to this time. I read this post before you'd added more details and flipped through the photos…I have never read anything that has brought more, excuse me, but, warm fuzzies than this. You look so incredibly happy and your friends seem so wonderful. I just had to say that. Enjoy 30!

  20. Joyeux Aniversaire, mon amie! Those photos are great, and it looks like you had a blast! I hope my 30th(gulp-next year-yikes!) is as amazing as yours. Sounds like you made a plan for a small one-I personally am hoping to be on the top of Mt. Rainier for mine. The reasoning is personal, but more than anything, I don't want my jackass family to pitch me a ration about getting old. And what a better way to do so than to walk up a mountain…..

    At any rate, here's to you, and I hope that this year is the best of your life to date!


  21. Happy birthday!!! Loved your post and pics – esp. the wine tasting room…

    BTW, I've felt Jenn and Kim look so much alike. They are not sisters, are they?

  22. Stephanie, I just want to join the chorus of wishing you the happiest birthday ever. You're on the cusp of the greatest decade of your life. I, however, am on the other side…turning 39 in October. What an amazing decade – the 30's. I wish you all the happiness in the world, and thanks for letting us share in your universe…it makes my day every day.

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