I woke up early this morning, opened my eyes and noticed the date on my digital alarm clock: June 18th. I felt a flutter of excitement. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve held a special feeling about this day. Is it my birthday? No. Is it the birthday of a loved one? Sort of.
June 18th is Paul McCartney’s birthday. He is 78 years old today.
My sisters and I cried and squealed and swooned, like millions of others young girls around the globe.
I was eight, and already a raving fan, when he stepped onto the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater and melted my heart. He shook his mop top, and sang his twenty-one-year-old heart out. My sisters and I cried and squealed and swooned, like millions of others young girls around the globe.
Over the years, my love for Paul deepened, as I grew to fully appreciate his artistry of songwriting, his sweetness of demeanor. My heart broke for him when John Lennon was tragically murdered. I knew just a bit about the bond they shared from an early age, both having lost their mothers so young. I grieved again, when he lost Linda Eastman McCartney, his wife and true love, to breast cancer in 1998.
In later years, I’ve been moved countless times by his generosity and warmth, his pure heart. And I’ve been saddened by some of the public betrayals that I know wounded him deeply.
Not too long ago, James Corden did a wonderful, extended version of Carpool Karaoke, where he drove around Liverpool with Paul, visiting famous sites like Penny Lane, and singing old Beatles songs together. Paul was charming as ever, playful and sweet. He actually seemed to enjoy singing those songs with James, allowing us all to imagine the fantasy of getting to sing with him in the car. He told a wonderful story about his inspiration for Let It Be, calling upon his mother Mary’s presence, which made James cry.
They visited his childhood home, where Paul reminisced on the spot where he and John wrote She Loves You, and they first played it for his dad (who suggested they change the lyric to She loves you, yes, yes, yes…).
When they left the house, a crowd had gathered. I watched Paul take time to connect with some of the fans, and hear their stories of how much he meant to them, how they’d named children after him. In every instance, Paul’s humanity and humility shone through.
And even as I can point to all these beautiful moments, there remains something elusive and mysterious in my love for Paul McCartney. There is magic in the unique dance of his soul and spirit that utterly enchants me. I just want to weep and dance for joy at the same time.
As I lingered in my early morning reverie, I realized that for me, Paul McCartney is an immediate touchstone to gratitude. What a gift that is!
Who are the people that instantly open your heart to gratitude and celebration?
It’s an interesting place to look for all of us. Who are the people that instantly open your heart to gratitude and celebration? Whether they are artists we’ve never met, or loved ones with whom we share our day-to-day, the people who lift us to gratitude are living, breathing blessings in our lives.
So I begin this day with a celebration of Sir Paul. Happy Birthday, Paul! Thank you for gracing us with your beauty for all these years. I pray I will get to keep celebrating your birthday for decades to come.