So today is my birthday. I am happily turning 43 years old. Actually, I think I have never been so happy to have a birthday as I am about this one. Not that 43 is a milestone of any sort, but for me, I suppose it is.
One year ago today I was floating in a pool at a fantastically lovely beach house, spending the weekend with my Mommy friends, as we have done every year for...(not sure how many, but it is a long time!) These weekends are always filled with really great food and really great conversation, lots of cheese and chocolate and wine (all the major food groups) and at least one spectacular meal out or other event. We moms reconnect as adults, get to have conversations and actually finish a thought without being interrupted, sleep in the most amazingly decadent beds ever made, and laugh...a lot. My favorite thing to do is to float in the pool, stare up at the sky, and just listen to myself breathe. It's a sound I really only hear once a year, as there are no little voices drowning me out. We have had some amazing adventures, starting with the leopard spotted limousine, a chance meeting at a restaurant with Kevin Bacon and his lovely wife Kyra Sedgewick (who ran right into my pregnant belly), and, of course, seeing the one and only Prince in concert. We have celebrated the births of our children and mourned the deaths of our parents. It is our one chance to slow down and catch each other up on all the happenings of the past year. I treasure that weekend and always come home renewed and refreshed and maybe a few pounds heavier. (Did I mention the cheese and chocolate?)
One of the big realizations of these weekends is that we just never know what is coming around the next bend or the next flip of the calendar page. Turns out, the year we saw Prince, I was already pregnant with my third, I just didn't know it yet. (Of course, I wouldn't know for quite a while, but that is a story for another time.) Maybe that's why he likes music so much! And of course, last year when I was floating in the pool, listening to my breath, I had no idea that in a few short months my life would change so dramatically. My 42nd year, except for the first few months, has really been pretty crappy. I have had more days of feeling bad than feeling good and more tears than I can count. But of course, there were moments of happiness, of feeling not so bad. There were the lessons learned about the love in my world and how I didn't appreciate that it was there. I have learned to tell people what I am thinking and feeling, and I have learned about the power of prayer. All the months of not being able to speak taught me to be a better listener, especially to my children. My husband and I could not be any closer. Most of all, I have simply learned to be thankful.
We had a very quiet celebration today. I'm fighting an infection and I'm still not eating, so no special dinner or cake for me. Instead my family showered me with gifts and love. My brother came in from Baltimore specifically to be here for my birthday. My daughter proved that she has inherited my crafty gene with not one but two cards, complete with sparkles. My boys have given me more hugs and kisses than I can count. I am still trying to catch up with all the birthday wishes on Facebook (if I haven't gotten to you yet, thank you!) I am looking forward to being 43. Because I get to. And for that, I am most thankful.
Who knows what this year will bring. My one birthday wish is that this year brings me a clean bill of health, continued recovery, a return to teaching, and that I continue to treasure all that I have learned. Okay, so maybe that's four wishes, but who's counting?
Love and sparkles to you all,