Ah, Birthday Week. It's here. Ever since I was little, I have truly enjoyed my birthday. Except for a couple mental days around my 30th, which I completely deny but my friends all confirm...birthdays have never been about getting old. They've been about just simply making it through another year happy and healthy.
This year, the birthday festivities got off to a rocky start. Quite frankly, I don't know why. I've felt...off. People are being really demanding of me emotionally - and seemingly unnecessarily. Things with my dad's health are stressing me out (even though I'm not letting on that it's bugging me that much). My initial plan for my fabulous birthday dinner went down the can in a big way. Suddenly, my birthday was feeling a bit like an anvil hanging around my neck.
I spent a quiet weekend keeping to myself and having TamiTime(tm). Still, I couldn't shake it. Resorting to what usually makes me feel better, I went for a long walk. My route, which is what I run every day, has lots of hills and dips and turns. In the early evening, the breeze was blowing...the leaves were rustling a little bit. The soundtrack to everything swirling around in my head. Sorting through all of the things that had been bugging me for days.
As I came up over the top of this hill, I was knocked back a few steps by a familiar smell I had smelled a million times on my run: magnolias. My mom loved magnolias - almost as much as stargazer lilies. All of the memories of my birthdays with my mom came rushing at me. We always used to have an adventure on my birthday...and of course, it had to do with food. The year we laughed over the white bean soup with truffle oil at Brasserie Le Coze (rip) after "accidentally" spending too much on new underwear. One year, we went to Bacchanalia for crab fritters and chocolate cake at lunch...and then went back that night for our reservations with my dad. We never told anyone - until now.
On the eve of my second birthday-without-my-mom-oh-goodness-how-do-get-older-without-your-help, I sat down on the steps in front of the local school and cried and cried. Thank goodness for summer break.
In her way, as she always does, my mom was the thing that kept me grounded. Focused on what was important. I should have known that she'd be there for my birthday...and she'd be the one that helped me get my head out of my ass on this special day.
I'm looking at life today with a different set of eyes than the ones that have been staring glumly around her the past several days. What's to be all down about? I've made it another year, right? I'm 32...and my boobs and butt stick out more than my stomach. Woo! I have a steady and decidedly unglamorous yet wildly fulfilling career as a food stylist. I eat well. I drink good wine. I laugh a lot. I have amazing people in my life that have been around for years and years and years - even though we don't talk as much as we should, I know they're there. This past year in particular, I've been so fortunate to meet a host of new friends. Although whatshisface gave me a little drama this year, I'm spending time with someone who puts a little twinkle in my eye again.
As always, I have a host of Birthday Week festivities planned for the next couple days. So, while *I* won't be short on food and good stories, this blog will. I'll be back soon enough trying to be healthy and repent for my birthday week sins. Thank you to everyone out there who has sent me such nice birthday wishes and - on the other 364 days of the year - supported me and this blog and gone through the journey with me. Here's to another year, whatever it brings.
image found on google.com