Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

Last night, I went to my sister's house for the birthday surprise. She took my cell phone and said, "You are going to lock yourself into Dad's bathroom (he has a garden tub) and soak in the tub for as long as you want."

Dad interjected, "As long as you want... but be out by 8:00, since that is my bedtime."

I looked at her.

She looked a little worried.

"Isn't that what you asked for?"

Eyebrow raise.

"Saturday you said that what you wanted for your birthday was to be locked in a closet and left alone for a couple of hours. Would you rather have the closet?" she asked with genuine concern.

"Oh! No, the bathroom sounds great."

"Will you be able to relax?"

In my father's bathtub? Ummm....


"You have soothing bubble bath, sugar scrub, shampoo & conditioner... Paul made strawberries and cream (real homemade whipped cream)... and here is the soothing tea."

Paul said, "As soon as you get settled, we'll come in and sing happy birthday."

I'm afraid there are no pictures, although it was lovely. I wish you all could have been there... or not.

I soaked and read and thought and read and soaked for an hour and a half. I thoroughly enjoyed the Bath & Bodyworks Eucalyptus & Peppermint stuff. I read three chapters of The Circle of Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini. And I thought about how perfectly thoughtful this gift was.

Ellen could have given me the bubble bath et al and sent me home, where it would probably have gathered dust in the closet until "the perfect time." Instead, I was forced to relax and enjoy myself. And I did. It takes a special friend and sister to know that about me. What can I say?

Yesterday I mentioned that my youthful birthdays were disappointments because I expected too much. I once asked my mother why I didn't have birthday parties with friends like everyone else and she showed me a picture of my third or fourth birthday party. There are five or six girls in pretty party dresses and big smiles. Then there is me. I am in a pretty party dress. I am surrounded by friends I still remember. I have balloons and cake and presents. And I am crying.

When I first heard that, I felt very guilty. Not only had I ruined my birthdays, I had kept my siblings from having parties. And they might not have cried at their parties.

Later I realized I was probably overwrought. I was three, for Pete's sake. But I carried the habit of getting overwrought on my birthday for many years.

When I turned 18, I spent most of the day working myself into a tizzy. My friends Margaret and Vicky were going to take me out, since back then 18 was the legal drinking age. I worked myself up so much I almost cancelled, but Mom told me that I would hurt their feelings and I needed to get a grip. Fortunately, I did.

Because Margaret and Vicky didn't take me out, they threw me a surprise birthday party. With people. Other people. I would never have imagined that people would have come to my birthday party. (I may have had issues, ok?)
Since I had a couple ten bad years after that, I don't know if it was a turning point, but it was a point of change. I could have a great birthday, I could have great friends, I could have fun. It was spectacular, special, and memorable. I am sure I have never thanked them enough. (Hey Margaret! Thank you sooooooo much. Tell Vicky, too.)
Today, I worked really hard in the morning, but everyone in my office said Happy Birthday. My boss took us to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays (try the crab cake dinner). Bob joined us. They bought me balloons and a cake and two African Violets, because I have a reputation for succeeding in keeping them blooming. (Bright, indirect light. Ours is a northern facing window with a large western facing window close by. I'm not good with plants. Really.) I enjoyed this morning and the lunch more than I can say.

This afternoon, I went to St. Michael's, where I was again inundated with good birthday wishes. And don't get me started on the Facebook birthday wishes. I feel the love.

My daughter in love is making a cake for me, and the boys are picking up Chinese food. (If it's good enough for Jesus' birthday, it's good enough for me.) Bob and I are drinking a beer in honor of the "Beer Summit" at the White House. The kids are on their way back with the food and more beer. Tomorrow is my day off, and I may get to my to-do list. Or not.
And, I'm 49 years old. As my friend Courtney says, if you are going to lie about your age, lie old. If you tell people you are 30 and you are 40, they will say "Damn, what's she been smoking?" If you say you are 58 and you are 48, they say, "She looks good for her age."


Martha said...

Happy Birthday, Kathy!! All the best today and everyday, Martha

Kim said...

Happy Birthday!
A soak in the tub - what a wonderfully thoughtful gift. I'm glad you enjoyed it and the rest of the day.
My mom has surpased her silver anniversary of her 39th birthday - she refuses to budge. I just tell people I'm older than my mother. It keeps them guessing. I usually up the years myself.