[Off-topic, but on my mind: I'll breathe easier once Thanksgiving is behind me. I have a history of contracting spectacular maladies on Thanksgiving; appendicitis, viral meningitis, and one very memorable case of the flu.]
As for getting older, I have never had much sympathy for the woes of the newly middle-aged. Friends who were turning 40? Young! Aches and pains, wrinkles, a slowing metabolism, hair where you wish it weren't and no hair where you wish it were? It's inevitable--and you know it's coming--so suck it up, people.
MY APOLOGIES, PEOPLE. I get it now. I am sympathetic. Chock full of sympathy, in fact. Despite knowing that I would get exactly one year older every year, I am shocked to find that I am thirty-seven years old and doing all those things that I always thought it was silly for people so young to do; things such as contemplating my mortality and re-evaluating who I am and what I've "achieved." Gah.
And yet, despite my disappointment in myself for caring a fig about aging, I could not help but be anything other than grateful and happy on my birthday. There were cards and gifts and phone calls and birthday serenades from all my nieces and nephews, not to mention a nice lunch out with Shaun's folks and grandma in Portland after church.
But the absolute highlight of the day came when we went to pick Nels and Willem up from Sunday school, where Nels had enthusiastically spread the word that it was my birthday. The class devoted the entire morning to thinking of ways to show me kindness.
When I stuck my head in the door, I was quite surprised to hear, "She's here, she's here!" and then be sung "Happy Birthday" to by a room full of four to six year-olds. I was then given a gift; a "pillow" made out of the backside of a lesson coloring page, stuffed with strips of cut-up paper, and stapled shut around the edges in lieu of stitching. My name was written on it in purple highlighter, along with a drawing of a flower. The grand finale was a birthday cake; they'd raided the church kitchen and made me a layer cake of graham crackers and peanut butter, with pretzel filling. Also, it's hard to tell in the photo, but my name is spelled on the top of the cake in pretzel pieces.