I go on 'milestone' birthday trips with my 2 sisters. Our next is to honor what would have been our mother's 100th birthday.
12.11.2023 - 16:19
A few months before my 50th birthday in 2002, I was in the hospital for five days. I had become suddenly and severely ill; doctors did numerous tests and ruled out anything serious aside from anemia. While in the hospital, my older sister Diane called and asked if I needed anything. My answer was, "Quality time with my sisters and Mom." Diane reminded me that my 50th birthday was coming up in June, and suggested we reunite to take a trip together. Hence, "The Schemes and Dreams Tour," as we have come to call it, was conceived.
Until then, the four of us — me, Diane, our younger sister Ilyse, and Mom, whose name is Rhoda, but who's affectionately called "Rho Rho" by everyone she knows — had only taken one short trip together a few years earlier, meeting in Miami and spending four days shopping, eating good food, going to arts events, and laughing a lot.
We are as close as four women can be, and that bond has grown infinitely stronger over the years. As kids, my sisters and I bickered as all siblings do, but we truly love, respect, and admire each other; we always say we'd choose each other as best friends even if we weren't related. Each of us aspires to be like our mother, an extraordinary woman who touched many lives and was adored by everyone who met her.
The three of them decided that they would plan a surprise destination and various activities to celebrate my 50th birthday. I was not to find out where I was headed until the morning of my flight, the day before my birthday. I was sent a list of what to pack, and my sisters plotted with my husband to get me checked in for my flight the day before and to drive me to the airport. Unbeknownst to me, they arrived one day before I did so they could prepare our accommodations and put the finishing touches on their plans. They were all waiting for me at the airport when I got to baggage claim, and the fun began immediately.
The destination turned out to be Scottsdale, Arizona, where we stayed at the beautiful Boulders Resort & Spa in a two-bedroom casita. This was close to where I was born in 1952, at Luke Air Force Base where my dad, a general surgeon, was stationed during the Korean War. Upon our arrival, my sisters and mom whisked me away in a rental car to Afternoon Tea at The Phoenician.
While I'm more of a coffee drinker, I loved the light feast of tea and finger sandwiches, scones, and delicate pastries, and it put me into "relax" mode right away. We stayed up late that night watching the Tony Awards — my whole family loves theater and all the arts — and we laughed ourselves silly. Around midnight, Diane said we had to go to bed because we were getting an early start the next morning.
When she woke me before sunrise, at around 4:30 a.m., I asked