As usual, my expectations were pointless. The day I was vaguely dreading turned out to be spectacular. I wrote a few weeks ago about being rich with friends. This birthday was a wonderful reminder of just how rich I am. (The family ain’t bad either.)
En famille, we had agreed this year not to exchange material presents in deference both to our circumstances and to our recent decision about the school. (Bill did tell me what he would have gotten me: the new Colson Whitehead novel. Library alert!) There were abundant presents, though, in other ways. My first birthday present was the chance to spend some uninterrupted time with Akiva in the morning while Bill and Gideon slept in. We watched musical theatre clips on youtube (he thinks I sing better than Bernadette Peters!) and played a board game before heading to the kitchen to make breakfast.
Eventually the others got up and we got everyone ready for the day. Bill drove Akiva to school, while Gideon and I tidied up the breakfast dishes, folded laundry, and made cupcakes. Then we went outside for our morning rounds: looking at trucks, playing in the park, and enjoying the sunshine.
Later, while he napped, I fielded a call from a friend from my reading group (which used to be my adult B’nai Mitzvah group, which used to be my Hebrew class). She noticed the other night that I was feeling down and asked if she could bring me a birthday lunch. It was such a lovely and moving offer, but I had to ask for a raincheck.
Another friend (see what I mean about being rich with friends?) had already made arrangements to schlep here from Woburn to share a birthday lunch with me. As always, the company was sheer delight.
Gideon woke up in time for me to be able to take him to the Arboretum to see the lilacs. He was mostly interested in the landscapers’ dump trucks, but still.
We saw a toad.
We went to pick up Akiva from his play date and got home in time for the boys to play outside in the backyard while I cleaned up the kitchen and made dinner. (I am noticing a theme of cleaning the kitchen only to muck it up again.)
We had a nice dinner with a minimum of aerobic eating. Bill came home just as we were finishing up and brought with him the most exquisite flowers. He’s not much for words but he can do gesture when he has the means, motive, and opportunity. The guys put candles in the cupcakes I’d made and sang the birthday song to me. The cupcakes were damn good, even if I’m the one to say so.
After dinner, I changed into dressy clothes with no worries about whether I could nurse in them. I put in contact lenses and even put on a little lipstick. I got in the red car and drove to the New Rep, where I was a volunteer usher at their 25th anniversary gala. I was mainly ornamental (most donors know their way around the theatre and don’t need help finding their seats) but the treat was that I got to see my friends from Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods perform some of my favorite numbers from those shows. This came about thanks to (you guessed it!) a friend who works in the box office at the theatre.
Over the course of the day, I got no less than ten birthday phonecalls, from family and friends. My family has a tradition of making “singing telegrams” and for the first time ever, I got one from my brother. (I don’t think I’d ever heard my brother sing before!) I also heard from my friend Anita and some others with whom my life has become linked more recently. Add in the messages from old connections resumed through Facebook and that’s quite a lot of friendship bling.
Oh, and my mother-in-law called three times to wish me a happy birthday and thank me for the visit this past weekend. Clearly she is trying to make peace. Good.