This year I turned thirty-eight which is starting to sound like a lot of years. I am the same age as my mother in law when she sent her oldest son on a mission. This fall is my twentieth high school reunion. When I worked at a small business while pregnant with Kathleen, the lady who owned the business was thirty-eight. I've definitely left mid thirties behind me and entered late thirties.
This doesn't bother me; I enjoy having lived long enough to have some life experience that helps me to be a little better than I was in younger years. I certainly don't want to go back to being young if it means I have to learn all those lessons over again. But it is strange to know that physically I've reached the high water mark and it's pretty much a gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) decline until the end. I'm certainly not feeling my imminent mortality, but the reality is more concrete than it used to be. As I like to remind Brandon, everyone gets old who doesn't die first.
The celebrations this year stretched over four days, ending with my birthday itself. We had done so much partying that by the time my birthday arrived I kept forgetting that it was the actual day. I laughed when Brandon sent me a text halfway through the morning, "Oh..PS... Happy Birthday and stuff. I love you."
We started Saturday by going to Amirsoy ski resort. I thought it somewhat ironic that the cold-hater chose to go up to the mountains for some snow and sledding, but I reserve the right to be contradictory. It's a woman's prerogative, after all.
The next day with celebrated with cake and presents. I had plans for my actual birthday and we always have dessert on Sunday night, so turning dessert into a birthday cake seemed like as good an idea as any to me. Brandon let me sit and read my book while he and Eleanor whipped up a delicious chocolate-raspberry cake. He even managed to find the candles which pop in and out of existence, usually only appearing when someone doesn't have a birthday.
On Monday the embassy had a holiday, so Brandon and I abandoned the children and went out to breakfast followed by jewelry shopping. Being able to get up, shower, feed the baby, and then leave without any other preparations was a birthday gift all by itself.
I finished the celebrations with friends on my actual birthday. The two other women from church organized a dinner out and we invited ladies from the embassy community and turned it into a girls' night out and January birthday celebration. I love being part of a community that supports each other and is always happy to get together and celebrate whatever is happening.
This birthday helped me to really see how blessed I have been with wonderful people in my life. As I sat and listened to the voices of family and then friends sing to me, I realized that they had done those things because they wanted me to feel special. As the children handed me the gifts they had made and I watched the excitement in their eyes, I could see how much they wanted to make me happy with their efforts. I thought of how lonely my life would be without all these people to love and care for. And I thought of how full my life is with these people to remind me, again and again, what is most important in this life. Happy Birthday to me indeed.