Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Older? Check. Wiser? **crickets**

Well, right on the heels of Willem's birthday came mine. Because it is a requirement in our family that we do things in clumps. We have the September/October/November birthdays plus Halloween and Thanksgiving cluster in the fall, and we have another nice little busy time in May with Shaun's birthday, our wedding anniversary, and Mother's Day. And yes, Shaun's birthday inevitably gets short shrift. Sorry, Shaun.

[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.

Nels was pleased as punch with himself, and I was happy to see him so happy to make me happy. A very memorable birthday, indeed.


Gretchen said...

Ahhhh! Happy Birthday! It sounds like it was a good one. =0)
The peanut butter pretzel cake is especially special! ;0)

Mullins said...

Wow! How endearing. It makes me want to go to your church. That's very sweet.

Jana said...

Happy Birthday Gypsy!! Yes, I hear you on the aging thing. Glad it was such a special day!

Dennis Family said...

We slapped our knees and laughed out loud. Happy Birthday!

Lisa said...

I think everybody has a particular birthday or two that hits them with the whole aging thing. It's a personal kind of number. Mine was 35. Of course finding yourself on the other side can be as delightful as it is sobering.

Happy birthday! Your gift and cake are too cute.