December 29, 2011. My birthday. I am 41 years old.
I used to resent being born during this window between Christmas and New Years. Amid holiday hustle and bustle, company, activities and entertaining, I felt my birthday wasn't special enough--too easily forgotten. And since we were home for break, I never got to bring cupcakes to share with my class like the other kids in school.
In fact, for a period of my life, I changed my birthday. A few friends still laugh about the time I announced I had moved my birth date to January 29--sharing the date with my best friend from high school. Now older, and maybe even a little wiser, I welcome the benefits of my special day.
One advantage is taking a little "alone time" during our winter recess without feeling selfish. I love having the kids home, my husband home, and the grandparents and aunts and uncles and presents and cookies and adventures, I really do. I've been cooking quite a bit, which I enjoy, playing new board games with the kids and curling up with Paul to catch up on old TV shows. As much as I adore it all, being off of my regular schedule for too long wears me out. I like to use my birthday as an excuse to clear my head. In the morning I exercise, working up a great sweat for the first time all week. I might normally feel guilty leaving Paul in charge all morning but, hey, it's my birthday!
I return to dine with my family on the meal of my request--a big healthy salad. Presents are opened and I receive my annual birthday phone call from my mother. (And I woke up complaining of gas pains. So your father says, 'Well, how far apart are these gas pains?') Besides a few phone calls from friends, I also check the Internet to read the latest 27 happy birthday greetings on my wall. Gotta love Facebook.
After lunch, I pamper with a pedicure and redeem a free cup of birthday coffee. I find a comfy spot to savor my latte and pull out the spiral notebook I had stashed in my bag. I have come to appreciate my birthday's location on the calendar. The 52nd and last week of the year is a good time to take stock of myself--to reflect on all that happened during my 40th year and to look ahead to the next.
Journal, check. Toenails, check. Yoga, check. After refreshing my mind, body and spirit I return home ready to welcome our guests. My dear friend Kristin and family join us for the afternoon and evening. Because it is vacation, the whole clan makes the trip--a luxury I wouldn't have on just any Thursday during the year. We get caught up, relax, laugh. It is all so comfortable. We feast on Lebanese carryout served on paper plates, saving room for Steve's famous homemade chocolate peanut butter cake. The adults linger at the table talking over drinks while the girls rehearse silly birthday skits.
As the festivities come to an end, I get one last Happy Birthday hug and kiss from my pajama-clad family before I nestle beneath the covers. It was a wonderful birthday. I wouldn't have it any other way on any other day.