Happy Birthday, Hadley
(Photographs of the girls dominate my pictures; there are no recent ones of us. That’s okay – they’re the best part of us anyway, aren’t they?)
I am sending you all my love, halfway across the country and up a mountain, and looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks.
We met 16 years ago this fall, which seems amazing to me. You were – and are – so impeccably elegant that it took me a long time to believe that there was, as you kept telling me, tumult and anxiety beneath the surface. I’ll never forget the New Year’s, years ago, when another friend met you and told me, days later, that her original impression that you were intimidating had quickly given way to realization of your warmth, generosity, and sense of humor.
You are the calm one who talks me off of the various ledges that I perch on weekly if not daily. Where I am a tornado, you are tranquil, where I am rough you are refined, where I am struggling you are serene. More than once you’ve pulled me through a very dark spot with the tenacity of your friendship (I’ll never forget the Fed-Exed box of pacifiers when Grace was one week old).
I am honored to be able to know the you beneath the gloss, but I also admire tremendously both the way you put yourself together and your view that each day is an opportunity to craft something beautiful. You bring beauty wherever you go, creating lovely spaces, moments, experiences. You are a thoughtful and generous hostess; you have rice milk in the fridge and diapers in the right size in the bathroom. You think of everything. Your aesthetic sense is an inspiration. Every facet of your life always strikes me as almost achingly lovely: your stationery, your Christmas cards, your handwriting, your clothing, the art on your walls, the fruit in your fruit bowls, the food on your table. Patterns, colors, songs all seem more vivid and beautiful in your hands, and you handle all of these things with ineffable, instinctive ease.
Every time I see you I leave dedicated to working harder at cultivating beauty in my life. You make me realize the immense value of paying attention to the smallest detail, make me see how beauty can truly soothe our souls. Every time I’m with you – which is never enough – I come away feeling like I’ve experienced something special. You have personally curated some of the most sparkling memories of my life.
I love watching your generosity towards and intimacy with Grace, your goddaughter, and hope to share even a fraction of that with your son, Jack, my godson. Thank you for teaching me the words to Frost’s The Master Speed, what agave tastes like, the importance of arnica, how entertaining the New York Post is in the morning, and a million other lessons both too big and too small to list. I look forward to learning a million more.
Happy, happy birthday, my dear, beloved friend.
Parts of this are reposted from 2010, but it’s all still true, and it’s still HLKS’s birthday today, so I wanted to re-share it.
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