Birthday Gratitude

Birthdays were a big deal in our home. My mother celebrated us for a week by acknowledging each day that led up to the big day. Even into our adulthood, she’d call my sister and me every day for the week prior to the big day and sing “Happy last Monday of your XXth year to you…” I miss those calls now that she’s gone. I miss her voice. My sister made me very happy this year by texting the day before my birthday, “happy last Wednesday!”

I never understood why some people dread their birthdays. I mean, I get the whole not being wild about aging thing. I don’t like my crêpe neck or the need to wear reading glasses either, but as the cliché goes, it beats the alternative. So much wisdom comes with age.

I am uncomfortable, however, with any extended focus on me. That’s part of what made this birthday especially nice. The week was full of fun, friends, and family events that brought me a great deal of joy (and some awesome presents) without being all about me:

The humidity broke, and the crisp chill of autumn that invigorates me arrived. I love when I can sleep with the windows open and welcome the cool breeze.

  • I chatted with Steve Martin at a home high on a hill overlooking the panoramic picture postcard sunset overlooking the Long Island Sound. For real.
  • I lunched overlooking the Saugatuck River with my sister and bestie, both of whom bestowed thoughtful and generous gifts. The best gift they give me year-round, though, is their love and support.
  • My writing teacher hosted a Women Writers’ Night Out where I got to collaborate, commiserate, and craft with my writing peeps. Red wine was involved.
  • Both of my boys called on my birthday. And talked to me. For a long time. I love my sons so much. Their existence, their health, and their welfare is the best gift.
  • Say what you will about Facebook, but receiving 250 warm wishes from actual friends kind of blew me away.
  • My former husband’s wife arranged for a celebratory dinner at Brick + Wood and dessert at Milkcraft. Their delicious seven-year-old son made a card for me depicting us standing together holding celebratory balloons. When my ex asked how old he thought I was, he scrutinized me for a long time and mulled some more. He is a deep thinker like his brothers. He finally said, definitively, “36.” I love this kid!
  • I went to an MFA information session at Sarah Lawrence College to explore what I might do when I grow up. How fortunate am I to be able to contemplate a future full of fulfilling promise?
  • And finally, I saw Janeane Garofolo at the Ridgefield Playhouse with same said bestie. We laughed so hard for an hour straight at her rambling, intelligent stream of consciousness that we actually got a core workout. Our cheeks hurt. “Be a citizen,” Janeane said, “take your CVS ExtraCare Card out before you get to the only cashier dealing with the line of 18 people.” A woman after my own heart.

It was an exceptionally lovely, entertaining, heart-warming birthday week under crystal blue skies. I suspect my mother had something to do with it. A girl couldn’t ask for more. I am humbly filled with gratitude and appreciation, and I look forward to my 58th trip around the sun.


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