I love all birthdays but mine — and not for the reason you’re thinking.
This morning, my friend Terry emailed to wish me a happy birthday, adding,
“every year gets better.
Terry’s got a few years on me, it’s true, but I already know she’s absolutely right. I don’t mind getting older. Not really. But I do dread my birthday, because of the inevitable let down of unmet expectations.
This year it didn’t come.
It’s definitely been the best birthday celebration ever. Maybe it’s because 42 snuck up on me — I’ve been too busy between family and work and extra work (thanks a lot, John McCain, for making it this far; I’d hoped to be done with you by now!) to worry about something as trivial as a birthday (and for readers of this blog, you know that’s saying A LOT, since we’re all about the celebration in our house). Maybe it’s because a year ago, the doctors were getting ready to crack open Sophie’s chest again, to get at her heart. Maybe (ok, most certainly) it’s because Ray scored on the merch (SOMEONE’s got to save the economy, I suppose) and because I was showered with songs and cards and gifts by so many friends (if you want people to remember your birthday, sign up for Facebook!) and because my mother pulled out the stops, as usual.
Or maybe it’s because I’m finally growing up. This year, I didn’t get upset when I had to remind my father to wish me a happy birthday. I didn’t care that I had to work or that it was Monday, always the busiest day of my week. I also didn’t wake up with butterflies in my stomach.
I was just glad to be around, and glad that I’d carved out time this weekend to wash the car and get a pedicure. And so glad to have my party girls. Annabelle and Sophie love a birthday; doesn’t matter whose. Yesterday I snuck out of the house before dawn to go for a walk, and as I tiptoed past Sophie’s room, her bell of a voice rung out: “Happy Birthday, Mommy”. By today there had already been so many celebrations the girls had lost track; they were surprised my birthday hadn’t passed already. (To be fair, I guess that could be what happened to my dad. Nah.)
Come to think of it, maybe I enjoyed my birthday this year simply because everyone spoiled me rotten. I’ll take it. Among my favorite gifts: the felted purse I’ve been drooling over (luckily not literally); a handsewn sock money with two extra arms; Ray’s bag of gifts from a boutique so perfectly girly my friends want him to coach their husbands; and old family photos, including one of my maternal grandfather in drag (it was Halloween, my mother swears).
But the very best presents: art work. Sophie glittered a sign that is gorgeous (sadly it won’t reproduce here).
Annabelle drew a picture of the two of us getting our pedicures yesterday. And my mother painted the girls. And if I could figure out what I’m doing wrong, I’d post pictures of both!