In a strange turn of events today, I sat next to Leigh Ann from Reno on a direct flight home. I have never before been told to “RUN TO GATE 20!” If I hadn’t ‘run,’ I would have never met Leigh Ann and we would have spent the night in Cleveland. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say, today was filled with mercy. Thanks to an airplane with mechanical problems and kind employees who rerouted us in under 10 minutes, I am currently lounging in my favorite leopard pajama pants and Texas t-shirt writing about this day instead of having my rear end still firmly planted on an airplane mentally composing a much more morbid musing. Our bags are still not here, but we had extra toothbrushes.
Our children sat sprinkled with strangers throughout the plane. Daddy won the prize for spoiling them with the swipe of plastic and $5.99 Direct T.V. for three hours. Their choices were telling: David picked cartoons. Joseph chose Duck Dynasty and Cake Boss. Rich III asked to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid which he knows I deplore, but I said yes today ONLY.
I will spare you the tale of me almost flagging an air marshall due to my reaction to a flight attendant who basically called my sweet husband a liar when he kindly asked to sit in the empty seat next to me. I have never before attempted to tout our frequent flyer-ness on an airplane, but I looked the guy square in the eyes and told him that Rich had in fact clocked enough miles away from our family to enable him to sit in the empty seat next to me without paying an additional fee. Despite my passionate plea, he still asked for proof.
But back to Leigh Ann.
I was shocked that she still wanted to talk to me after witnessing the snarky debacle with the flight attendant, but she did. While Rich caught up on emails, my new pal from Reno and I had an awesome conversation. She was well versed in politics and mortgages and was curious about my Kindle. After two hours, I told her that I was making a list of who I wanted to have for lunch at my 39th birthday party, and asked her who she would invite to hers.
But first I explained the rules:
1. They cannot be dead.
2. They cannot be someone you know in real life.
Don’t ask me how we got from mortgages to politics to birthday lunches, but I knew she would want to play along. The fun part was, we would have enjoyed each other’s parties. She said Laura Bush right away, and when I mentioned Dana Perino, she knew more about her than I ever will. Game on!
Here is my list. It’s in alphabetical order because I am an includer and do not like to hurt feelings.
1. Brene Brown. Shame Researcher, Social Worker, and TED Talker. I love her books, blogs, and style. One of my besties from high school knows her in real life and says she is the real deal. I dig that.
2. Laura Bush. Book lover. Former First Lady. Fellow Texan. Embodiment of Grace and All Things Classy. I would be nervous to eat in her presence but would love every minute of it.
3. Patrick Lenconi. Creative Author of The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life. Business Consultant. I love how he uses story to change lives.
5. Dana Perino. Former White House Press Secretary. Political Commentator. Avid Tweeter. She is brilliant and fun and so calm and composed. The flight attendant today believes that I could definitely learn from her.
6. Shonda Rhimes. Screenwriter. Director. Producer. Culture shaper.
7. Pam Tebow. Successful homeschooler. Mother of world changers. Missionary. Public Speaker. I love her heart and how she raised kids who love Jesus and want to do life well. My kids pick her first when asked who I would want to share a meal with.
8. Irvin Yalom. Psychotherapist and Authentic Author. I would want him to lead the discussion when Judy needs a bathroom break.
9. Judy Nelson Lewis. Dear friend who asks amazing questions. Beautiful writer. Judy would love the interactions as much as I would. At my dream birthday lunch, she facilitates the conversation.
Last but not least, number ten is Rich Street. Because no birthday is complete without him, and he would move heaven and earth to have lunch with Eric Metaxas.
Who would you invite to your dream birthday party?