Yesterday I turned 43 and this blog turned 4. The amount of joy I feel on any given birthday can be hit or miss.
I’ve celebrated some birthdays in the most wonderful ways, surrounded by friends or family.
Four years ago, on the day this blog was born (and my first birthday married), Heath surprised me with the one thing I asked for: a birthday party with the animals wearing party hats. We were housesitting in Johnsonville, NY, for the summer and the animals included dogs, cats, and goats.
Only the dogs wore actual hats to the party. The cats and goats smiled for Heath’s camera and then Heath photoshopped the appropriate party wear onto those pictures.
Other years, particularly my first few in Illinois, I spent my birthday alone. On those birthdays, I sat alone on my couch. An occasional text or phone call would come in. Sometimes, I responded and sometimes I didn’t. Because in those times of loneliness it can be hard to accept long-distance birthday wishes when all you want is someone right there next to you.
This birthday, I am not alone. I am with my mom and brother. They made my favorite cake – butterscotch!
Heath showered me with treats on Thursday night before I drove to Pennsylvania on Friday, including surprising me with vegan bacon cheesy fries from Arles & Boggs, my favorite restaurant, located in Wallingford, CT. Wallingford is 65-miles one way from Norfolk, so this was quite the commitment from Heath. He then made a trip to Dee’s One Smart Cookie, an allergen-free bakery in Glastonbury, to get me gluten-free chocolate chip sandwich cookies. They’re a favorite sweet indulgence of mine and I enjoyed every bite of them.
I also received multiple birthday cards in the mail. Dozens of social media birthday greetings and text messages blew up my phone. I spoke with friends and family on the phone, some for over an hour. It was a perfect birthday.
And, yet … this birthday of mine has been underscored with sadness. On July 19th, my father died of complications from Guillain-Barre syndrome. Then, on July 23rd, Smudge had to be unexpectedly put down. It is a lot of loss and grief to experience, especially during a time of pandemic when there is already so much stress and uncertainty bubbling around us.
This birthday is an excellent example of the duality of life in which my therapist has been working with me over the past few weeks. Yes, it was a perfect birthday. Yes, I feel sad. Both can be true.
I don’t really have much more to say right now.
Thank you to everyone who made this is a perfect birthday.
Dad, I love you!
Smudge, I love you, too!