Paulette and I share a unique history that goes back 30 years. Time and distance conspire now to keep us apart but when we connect, even though it necessarily involves airplanes and major schedule adjustments, it’s always worth it.
She and I chose a career in Federal law enforcement at a time when earning the respect of our peers in a male-dominated profession meant embracing an over-the-top work ethic and developing a very “thick hide”. That experience cultivated a unique bond, in and of itself.
We were pregnant together and shared the unique travails reserved for expectant mothers in that kind of job. We raised our children in a world we viewed through a particular lens of danger and did our best to make their lives “normal”.
Early on in our friendship, we discovered we had more than just our careers in common.
Last weekend we celebrated my Dad’s 90th birthday with a big bash: sit-down dinner, fancy centerpieces, a proclamation by the Mayor (yes, really!), and a video retrospective of his life – the whole shot. He had personally made a list of people he wanted there, and the invitations went out well in advance. We made plans based on all those who said they were coming. Some had to change their plans at the last minute due to hospitalizations and unexpected obligations. That’s understandable.
But to those who said to him in the days that followed, “We got busy that day and just forgot”, I say, “Excuse me??” That may fly if you’re talking about taking out the trash or getting the oil changed in your car. But don’t disrespect my Dad – the coolest guy on the planet – by saying you “forgot”. He specifically wanted you there and you couldn’t write it on your calendar? Not acceptable.
(And to those who never responded one way or the other to his invitation, don’t even get me started…)