Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Grand and Glorious Day

When the phone rang at 7:17 this morning, I knew who it was.

My parents have a tradition of calling their children on their birth minute to sing "Happy Birthday," and every year I'm grateful that Mom labored through the night so that could my greetings could be delivered at a civilized time of the day. (If I'm not mistaken, one of my uncles gets his call at 4:35 a.m.)

Today Dad was on the road at 7:17 a.m. and pulled to the side of the interstate to call me on his cell phone. He was the first to sing his greetings but he was not the first to wish me a happy birthday--Boy#3 had that distinction, with a text message that jolted me out of sleep at 12:03 a.m.

It has struck me over the years how much less importance I put on birthdays as I age. As a child, I counted down for weeks as mid-November approached. I pored over toy catalogs, knowing I had two chances in the year (birthdays and Christmas) to legitimately ask for something I coveted.

I believed that the birthday was the harbinger of the year to come: If it was a happy day with plenty of adulation and specialness, it would be a happy year. If the day fell short of my expectations, a miserable 365 days would follow. And because it's impossible to live up to expectations of perfection, I began to dread birthdays.

It wasn't until the past decade or so that I realized I have liked every single year better than the year before.With that realization, I began to like birthdays more as well.

Today Husband sent me flowers at work and they are my favorite fall delights. He and Mother-in-Law took me to lunch, and hometown peeps, do not let Cuppa Jo's escape your attention. It was one of the best  sandwiches of my life.

Then my fabulous co-workers sang to me over chocolate-pecan pie and we remarked on how there is no appropriate place to look when you are the target of the "Happy Birthday" song, and we talked and ate and laughed until we cried.

I've spoken to all of the Boys except Two, who years ago staked his place as the last of the greeters. My sisters called with singing, and a friend sent me an e-card that depicted the two of us as Lucy and Ethel and was spot on.

Facebook friends bombarded me with good wishes."It is a beautiful day for your birthday," one wrote. "God chose to have the sun shine on you today."

Even for someone of unreasonable expectations of perfection, this has been a perfect day.

It's going to be a great year.

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