Happy birthday to me. Seems like 60 was just here and already #61 has snuck up on me.
I laid in bed this morning, gathering the covers around me, enjoying the fact that CS and Miss Lily had already climbed out of bed. I stretched this way and that, enjoyed seeing a bit of morning sunshine sneaking through the spot in the drapes where they hang a bit wonky. I thought about being 61, the fact that my father is going to be 91 a month from today, and that while I'm very likely 2/3 through this journey on earth, I also likely still have another 1/3 to live out.
Lying there under the covers, enjoying the feeling of starting my day in such a lazy state, I considered all the gifts my birthday bestows:
#1 My sweet husband of 35 years, and maybe, just maybe we'll get to be married another 30? He is hands down the best 'thing' that ever, ever, ever happened to me. There's a line in a Billy Dean song, "Without you - where would I be..." that absolutely sums up my life. I was a bit of a mess when I met him, and any good in me, any character I developed in the past 35 years can be attributed to him. He has ridden the waves with me, and still today holds the door open for me, tells me every single day that he loves me, and is truly my best friend on this earth. I don't deserve him, but I'm beyond thankful God gave him to me anyway.
#2 Three 'kids' who turned out so much better than they should have. We poured in all we had, but the truth is it was still lacking at times. They are the grace of God in our lives, and if all I had to show for my life was my part in how they turned out, I'd die satisfied. I wish I'd done better than I did, while they were growing up - been more grown up myself - but like the widow's mite, God took my part, knowing it was all I had to give, and honored it. Then, as if the three of them weren't enough, they married three great people. Truly. Three people who love the Lord, and their spouses, and their kids, in that order, and like their in-laws more than we deserve.
#3 Then, they produced eight beautiful children who are an undeserved joy. Truth be told, a tiring joy at times, but still we adore every single one of them. I'm amazed our little family of five grew into this great group of 16 people who I love more than I can express. And like. That's saying something because I've come to realize loving someone is often much more easily done than liking them.
#4 Both my parents are alive, and just yesterday I got to hear my almost 91 year old father tell me about his ridiculously large garden, and the 40 mounds of watermelon he's put in, next to the 30 mounds of cantaloupe, and that he's trying to grow onions that will weigh 5 lbs each. Every time I talk to him I savor the sound of his voice, his southern slurring of words, so I can bring it back up someday. My mother has no idea today is my birthday, but she's safe and happy and healthy and well cared for. Yesterday we talked for a bit, and I managed to say a few things that made her voice ring out with laughter - what a gift!
#5 I've still got three siblings, and we love each other. Some of us don't talk as often as we should, but we love each other. I'm thankful for that.
#6 I've got a very small handful of friends, scattered across the nation, who have hung in there with me, in spite of all my moves. Friends who know me, and love me anyway.
#7 I've got good health. This back of mine complains a lot more than I'd prefer and a knee or two is going to have to be parted out sooner rather than later; you wouldn't want me to try to drive with my left eye shut, but overall I'm in pretty good health. And I'm thankful for that. Lots of friends I've known over the years didn't get to celebrate birthday #61.
All that being said, after starting out my birthday meeting with an insurance man to buy long term care insurance - so fun said nobody ever - I'm planning to clean myself up, put on some makeup and CS is taking me to see Me Before You. Don't tell me it got poor ratings. I loved the book, and the ratings never affect the quality of the popcorn anyway, which is all that really matters. Then we're going to Cheesecake Factory where I plan to sip something white and chilled and eat something atrociously calorie-laden, because life is a gift, and it's meant to be celebrated. No wrapped packages necessary.