Celebrating Birthdays

Posted on 30 March 2011

I was not looking forward to this birthday – my 62nd. I was grouchy and foul-mouthed for days before, which is strange as I’ve always loved birthdays as they’re the one day a year, I do exactly as I please. This year I didn’t know what would please me and I moaned and groaned and wished Maureen were close to sing me some Patsy Cline song like “Crazy.”

The night before my birthday morning, I still was “not ready to make nice” and hummed along with the Dixie Chicks, looking at old photographs of myself and wondering if my spark, my passion, would ever re-ignite or if I would shuffle or scuffle along for the rest of my life, indecisive and lacking focus.

I awoke my birthday morning a little uneasy, a lot sick of myself. I climbed out of bed, slipped on a robe, and made myself a coffee and headed downstairs to my office. I had one small gift in my hand that had arrived from my sister a few days before. Bah humbug. I was more miserable than Scrooge until I opened the small box and found a pair of pretty dangly silver earrings from a company called “2 old bags”. I liked them. I laughed.

And then I received a phone call and email from my son Michael who was so full of loving words that I cried. And then I opened my emails and saw one from Gill which linked me to her website and she too overwhelmed me with words of love. Embedded into her post was a Vimeo slide show. She had been at my parents this past weekend and had taped birthday messages from them to me – more love.

And then more and more love came via emails and my Facebook wall. (They’re still coming.) I was feeling better and better.

I went upstairs for more coffee and Brendan handed me a bottle, saying “Happy Birthday. This is from Rob and me. It’s a very good bottle of wine.” I smiled and accepted it, thinking it must be awfully good as Bren and I had recently done a wine run and there were lots of bottles left. I pulled off the white tissue with its label and wax seal and the wine bottle’s label was “ipad 2″. At first, I thought that some winery was using the new ipad’s success to promote their wine and then it hit me, they were giving me an ipad or was it when Bren said that my ipad was ordered the day they were released in Europe and I would it receive it around April 15th? I was overwhelmed. These two guys have been watching me carrying around Brendan’s ipad (as a trial to see if I could justify buying one) and I loved it.) Yeah.

I had said gifts weren’t important. What do I need? I have everything I want… and yet, a gift given, knowing that the receiver covets it, will use it, will appreciate it for itself and the thought and love with which it is given is pretty damn spectacular.

By this time, I’m feeling pretty damn spectacular myself. And if that weren’t enough, Brendan took Rob and me to a gourmet restaurant in Albi where we celebrated with champagne, an amazing wine from north of Bordeaux, and a starter of carpaccio and watercress, followed by steak and frites, and completed with an apple torte with “Joyeux Anniversaire” written in chocolate around the plate.

We arrived home to another extravagance – a delivery of Pierre Hermes macaroons and florentines and small chocolate cookies – another gift that Brendan had arranged to arrive on my birthday from Paris.

In keeping with the occasion, I indulged myself all afternoon, lounging on a sofa in the living room watching Johnny Depp in a recent film (“The Tourist” – which was panned but I enjoyed.)

In the evening, still full from lunch, Bren and Rob and I had a few appetizers, a few bottles of champagne, and a lot of macaroons as we listened to music and then watched a movie.

I could not have asked for a more perfect day. I could not have felt more loved.

(And what’s really neat is that I am still receiving birthday messages via email and facebook.)

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