When working a long career, it is easy to dream about retirement. Dreams about the future and dreams about a retirement celebration. As the time grew nearer, I spoke to people about having a retirement party and I decided that I definitely wanted to have a party. And I was only going to invite people who I truly cared about. When you work for the government, you work with people that you have no choice in the matter. I’ll say it first, I haven’t been the easiest person to work with over the years.
Anyway planning this party was a fantasy of mine and I only wanted super cool people there. So I invited people who are currently in my life that were sweet. People that I’ve known for years since I was a kid and we kept some semblance of contact with each other over the years. It’s so hard to maintain relationships over the years. We get caught up in careers, kids and relationships. Also for financial reasons, I just couldn’t invite everyone.
I decided that I wanted to share my dreams and passions with my guests. For so many years I’ve had to walk around with this mask on that was suffocating me. I had to be super tough and I couldn’t let the real me out or it would have been seen as weakness.
Celebrating my 29th Birthday at SVSP.
It was in this safe space that I was creating that I knew I would be able to let my passions shine. I decided I was going to perform for my guests. It was really fun to plan this event. I wanted to plan it because I knew it would be exactly as I wanted.
The most amazing people showed up and assisted me with this event. My dear friend, Peggy who is an amazing event organizer, provided me with the caterer, a DJ was recommended by another friend and I found an amazing Videographer, Kristian Medina that was super cool and creative.
Kristian took these photographs but I am proud to say, I did the slide show. Those that know me, know this is no small feat. I was really happy with the way it came out. I tried my best to put pictures in that were flattering. Trust me I have some black male pictures if I wanted. Not really.
I did do a little editing and I finally figured out how to do a slide show. And I picked some music from the evening and added that in. #Lindseysterlingtranscendence, #Beatsantiquebattle, #Pa’Bailar-Siemprequieromasbajofondo&Julieta. I threw in Siempre Quiero Mas because it’s an amazing song. Great song to dance to. (Wink Wink)
I wrote a thank you note and was planning on reading it that night but of course I forgot it and had to just do it ad-lib style. My favorite thing to do. I’m going to write that here:
Thank you Letter intended for Valerie’s Retirement Party
I want to take this time out to thank everyone for coming to my party. I really appreciate your spending time with me on this special occasion. This has been a dream and a goal of mine for many years and I have happy to have finally made it to retirement.
Special thanks to the following:
Leonora Barron, mi madre and mommy. I would not be here physically and also you helped me to make this event possible. Thank you Mom for always being there for me with all of my crazy ideas. You’ve always supported and encouraged me and I appreciate you for that. Again working for CDCR was not easy and I know I could be very harsh at times. Thank you for forgiving me. I hope I can be as gracious as you.
My father, John Barron who without you, I would not have been exposed to music to the extent that I was. I know as a child it was sometimes very annoying to have a musician for a father. But looking g back I am thankful that I had that influence in my life. I understand now how you used to be “spacey” at times and I’m sure it was because you were mentally trying to figure out timing or a musical arrangement. Thanks for following your dreams because I know it helped me go for my dreams.
For my daughter Victoria, Thank you for being so patient with me. Thank you for being so loving and kind to me. You have a huge heart and I hope you keep letting your light shine. Thank you for going with me to all those classes and events and for taking my classes. You were a real little trooper and I appreciate and love you for that. Don’t ever forget your name means Victorious Star of the People. Let’s enjoy my new-found freedom. Let’s see the world.
To my brother, Adam Barron: Thanks for being there during the years and especially for looking out for my father. Thank you for being supportive and for always opening your house up to me. I know I hardly go around anymore but it’s because I’ve been working like a dog. Keep shining your light Adam. You are a beautiful person that everyone loves. Don’t ever forget that. Thanks for allowing me to be, “Adam’s little sister.”
To my brother, Ben:Thank you for always encouraging me to pursue my goals and for listening to me. You’re an amazingly talented guitarist and performer. I encourage you to continue with your artistic goals. Thank you for staying true to your art which isn’t an easy task in these times. You are a role model for everyone.
To my Aunt, Eleanor Barron-Druckery, thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being supporting and listening to me over the years. You a dreamer and I never realized how important dreams are. But with all of your extensive writings on dreams, it has definitely helped me to find my vision for dreams.
To my cousin Ray Ray Lozano: Thank you for being there for me. It’s been great getting a male perspective on things. No matter what we are family first and even though we don’t always agree on everything, we’re still family. Keep striving for your dreams and goals and you are an awesome role model. Remember it’s your strength is found in forgiveness.
Peggy Rairden: Thank you for helping with the decorations and for all of the input on the party. Who knew going to a Zumba class would bring me a great new bathroom and such an amazingly talorented interior decorator and party planner. Thank you for all of your support.
Alice Hutchings: I’ve known you for 20 years and have had a lot of fun in the past. I want to thank you for coming the distance to be at this event. I’ve always been able to rely on you over the years. You used to be my mom at work. Whether I needed a fork or if you shared your left overs. You always helped me out in the best way and made me feel better. You have a beautiful heart and keep letting it shine.
Special thanks to Angeline: Thank you for pushing me beyond my limits. Thank you for pursuing your dreams because. You are always able to figure out what a person is doing and what they need to be doing so they can be better. I don’t know how you do it. As you know it’s not always easy working with people and our excuses for why we don’t do things to improve our capabilities. Thank you for creating such an amazing safe place to learn to dance and thrive. I wish you continued success.
Thank you to Alina for being the amazingly talented musician you are. I know I wouldn’t have been able to get up here today and sing had it not been for your support and encouragement. Thank you for following your dreams and you’re helping so many people and children to fall in love with the universal language of music Thank you for sharing your gifts with us in the US. I know you could have lived anywhere on the planet and yet we found each other. Thank you for following your passion had you not, you would not have been able to assist me with mine.
I also want to thank all of the people who have been supportive of me throughout my career As you know it’s not an easy career. Sometimes it feels like all you are doing is putting out fires and it can be difficult to work together to reach a common goal. I really want to thank John Butler who was my supervisor for 4 years. I want to thank you for being supportive of me. You probably don’t know how much you helped me and I will always be thankful for that. I think I most appreciate was how you were more than understanding about giving time off. Also after you retired, I missed your sayings or as I refer to them, “Butlerisms.” Anyway I just wanted to say thank you!! In case you don’t know I’ve had some dark times during my career and as you know there are many people that suffer in my line of work.
And it’s my passion and goal that I can inspire you to pursue your dreams and goals, no matter what they might be.
Lastly I love you all and wish you all the best today and always. I truly hope we are able to keep in touch. And although we may not always agree on every single issue in life, I hope we are able to put those things aside and truly look at each other’s heart when we have disagreements. We don’t know how long we have to live and I truly wish you all peace in your heart, love in your spirit and joy in your life.