Dude. Otto proves to be a hard act to follow. I feel like I have to have something extremely MEANINGFUL and HEARTFELT to share after he hijacked the blog yesterday and was all “My love will go oooooooooon!” while he stood at the prow of the HMS Woulda, hair streaming back in the wind. (Sometimes I get him confused with a movie I once saw, but I’m pretty sure that’s very close to what happened.) And now I should be able to show up in a corseted ball gown and tell you how turning 40 changed my life, and I had a deep personal revelation yesterday about the nature of the human experience.
The truth is that I’m still in my pajamas, and while I felt very loved yesterday, the deepest epiphany I had ran along the lines of, “Yum, cake is delicious.”
Sometimes shallow is deeper than me, it’s true.
I am generally not one to fuss over birthdays, and after many years of living with the day-before “I have to… ummm… go run an errand” which then resulted in some gift that was either 1) the wrong size 2) not anything I ever would’ve wanted, or—my favorite!—3) something the gift buyer really wanted for himself, my expectations for the whole gifting experience tend to be low. VERY low. Too many years of disappointment kind of does that to a person.
[To clarify: I think that gift-giving is something of an art, and not everyone is good at it. I get that. I totally believe in the whole "it's the thought that counts" thing, but I guess my issue is that at a certain point, repeated offenses say to me "Not only is this nothing you want, but I have willfully chosen to put very little thought into this." So I am much more willing to graciously accept the "oh-dear-lord-why-in-the-world" gift from someone I don't know terribly well, for example, than from someone I am married to who theoretically should not find this experience so challenging.]
All of that said, Otto happens to be an extraordinarily thoughtful gifter, and after knowing him for 22 years and being married to him for over 4, I am still always surprised by how awesome he is.
So yesterday morning I woke up to his blog post, and I thought that was perfect and sweet and darling and warned him that women all over the Internet were swooning and fanning themselves. Then we went out to my favorite swanky restaurant last night and I thought really, that was more than enough for me, both in terms of food and company. Also, there were many comments about what monsters we’d just created by taking Monkey and Chickadee there, because it turns out that my children have VERY sophisticated palates when it comes to dining out. Neither of them really want to go to McDonald’s, but here was Chickadee with this vegetable plate that was a veritable work of art, urging me to “Try this shiitake slaw, mom, or the roasted tomato salad, or wait, here, you have to scrape some of the eggplant off this crostini, it’s SO GOOD!” and Monkey scarfing down an adult portion of striped bass asking “Why can’t we eat here all the time?” (Answer: Because we haven’t won the lottery yet. But I’m glad you enjoyed it.)
But we came home and there was more, really an embarrassment of more, with the kids each presenting me with certificates so that I could go on dates with each of them to their favorite restaurants (a seafood one for Monkey; the vegetarian joint for Chickie); a certificate to my salon (which I’m sure had nothing to do with the three inches of gray roots I’m currently sporting, ahem); and then lovely earrings from my stepmom and another pair from Otto (his came complete with an explanation of how actually my birthstone, peridot, is very difficult to find in its pure form, and sometimes it comes from meteorites, and I’m sure the explanation was fascinating and I would’ve enjoyed it if I hadn’t been so busy going “OOOOH, PRETTY!”).
And after all of THAT, there was flourless chocolate cake.
Earlier in the day, Monkey had presented me with a coupon book he made for me, loaded with offers for things from compost runs to “no complaints dishwasher unloading.” I couldn’t help remembering, as I paged through it, that last week when I took him out for lunch, he got a fortune cookie that said, “The current year will bring you much happiness.” We were so delighted, we brought the slip home and put it on the fridge. He’s such a good sharer, I think he’s happy to share his good fortune with the rest of the family.
Yesterday, it certainly was hard to feel anything other than loved and lucky. Which is probably the best birthday present ever.
Really, today I am happy to return to Regular Life, but GUESS WHAT! It’s Licorice’s birthday today (she’s 5, though I swear she doesn’t look a day over, um, 4), so the revelry shall continue. Although Licorice and Buddy may be expecting squirrel pops or something, so I should probably get working on that….
In conclusion: My family is nice, and my birthday was lovely. Also, thank you so much for your kind wishes, too. (I am sending every one of you a piece of cake through the Intertubes. Check your DVD drive.) (Because that stands for “Damn, that’s Very Delicious,” right?)