Monday, February 26, 2018

Birthday Weekend: A Play in Three Parts

I'm back! To Texas, life, blogger, and now the age of 35.

It was a long, weird, and wonderful birthday weekend. Let's inhale a few cookie frosting fumes and start with Friday.


PART I: Friday

I woke up after another night of antibiotics + ibuprofen + sudafed + mucinex + sleeping pill feeling mildly better. My throat was less full of fire and more a medium-rare. I decided yoga sounded good and had an excellent class where I did a side crow to hurdler's pose transition that left me feeling very powerful indeed. I stopped at Starbucks for my curative Citrus Defender with extra honey and headed home to shower and blow dry my hair like a proper adult while I waited for my mom to arrive for some birthday shopping.

She arrived! We hugged and exclaimed over surprise place mats she'd found for me after I mentioned I'd been trying to replace our torn up ones for three years but no one sells cork place mats anywhere and I can't go back to regular ones because I love that I can put piping hot bowls of anything directly onto the mat. My excitement over the new ones she found cannot be overstated.

Mats properly celebrated, we were off on our mission. We hit Ann Taylor first because their clearance section is a tradition. And though they've disappointed me for the last several months when I stopped in on my own, once the Gigi was present I found three things that were all adorable and necessary including this very striking dress that someone had ordered in a Small-Tall and returned. A Small-Tall! Such a rare and elusive online-only item! And 40% off the clearance price! It was fate and that dress is my new favorite thing in my closet.


Lunch was next- we need to keep our energy up and Cork & Pig offered a delightful menu that seemed to have nothing to do with its name. We split an Ahi Tuna Salad and SoCal Pizza (both were fantastic) with a glass of champagne and traditional Chardonnay for my mom. Whenever I get sad that the girls are getting bigger I remember how much I enjoy a grown-up lunch with my mom and it brings me so much comfort and happiness.


I was too full for dessert, but our waitress returned undaunted with a birthday candle stuck on an upside down ramekin. It was the cutest.


Marshall's was next. And last, as it turned out, because I spent my birthday money at least three times over. Usually I find 3 things while my mom finds 20, but this time, the stars aligned and we met outside the dressing room with my mom's two items and my 27. It was very successful- poolside maxi dresses, a swim suit, three cute patterned spring tops, palazzo pants, shoes, a loungey sweatshirt, and a tiny bright bikini I will wear for one minute and then cover with a rash guard. We drifted over to the Homegoods section and I accidentally found the perfect rug for our dining rug. The old one was originally $40 and super stained after six years and two toddlers. This one was perfect and abstract and $130 for a 9x11 and it also matched the perfect place mats my mom had surprised me with! Next thing I knew it was rolled up in my car. After that we called it a day and headed off to pick up the kids. I love it!


My dad flew in from NYC in the evening and I made us all dinner (with a lot of help from Trader Joe's) and then my parents ran out and surprised me with a Sprinkle Surprise Cake!


It was a really nice night, capped off with some Olympics and an attempt at an early bed time.


PART II: Saturday

Bedtime that ended INCREDIBLY ABRUPTLY at 3:30 a.m. when our alarms went off.


3:30 is a BRUTAL time for an alarm to yell at you. I think I fell asleep a little after midnight, so my brain couldn't understand why I was making it turn back on again.

We shuffled out the door and were on our way to the airport by 4:10. You guys, that is so early. We valeted the car, knowing we'd be back in it in 17 hours. The security line was longer than it should be at 5 a.m., but the Starbucks line was short and the plane was on time. James fell asleep immediately upon boarding and I watched The Cutting Edge, thrilled to find it a free download on Amazon Prime after a commenter reminded me that my Step Up: On Ice! movie already existed. I hadn't seen that movie since I was 9 and it is a delight. Toe pick!

We got to Baltimore, picked up our rental car, and drove out to Potomac. Sitting in his driveway, James and I looked at each other for a few minutes, held hands, repeated our goals for ourselves, and ran through the rain to his front door to see his parents for the first time in nearly a decade.

It was a weird day. It went as good as it could go. Physically his dad is doing better than we thought, though Alzheimer's is a brutal disease and the mental affects were difficult to see. His grandmother had no idea who we were and she was the only one who asked about our kids, simply because she asked IF we had kids. We drove back to the airport after 3 hours, winding our way back down River Road, through Potomac Village, memories everywhere and an enduring sense of unreality that it had been 9 years since we'd traveled that same path. ... It was a weird day.

We got to the airport, returned the rental car, and breezed through security. Done with tea, we found a bar and I ordered a large glass of wine after making James take a picture with me in the hallway. We made it. And, to answer my question in the last post, apparently what you wear to see your in-laws for the first time in forever is your favorite sweater, jeans, and sneakers, but what you ALSO wear are the lounge pants and sweatshirt you packed in your backpack for the plane ride home.


Our flight home took off at 7:15 pm. James slept and I comforted myself for my inability to fall asleep on planes with three episodes of The Great British Baking Show. We landed back in Dallas at 10 and were home at 11. Bed came around midnight after a very long hot bath and we fell asleep back where we'd woken up one million hours earlier.

PART III: Sunday

I woke up at 7:30 on my birthday, earlier than hoped but resigned to the wakefulness that found me anyway. I emerged from our room to find a table decorated by the kids and my parents and the leftover surprise sprinkle cake. It was like a pink puffy heart at the start of my day and it was perfect.


I was 35 and I was wearing one of my new birthday shopping shirts. 35 seemed pretty great.


We did cards and presents while we waited for brunch to open. I got some very sweet cards from my parents, grandparents, and an aunt and uncle. Landon made me an adorable card that listed my favorite things (cookies and vacations up at the top) and had hand-crafted my very own clay hedgehog to bring to work.


Claire made me a card that acknowledged our mutual love for donuts and colored one of her favorite special rocks with my favorite colors.


James's gift was up next and he knocked it out of the park. For five years I've said I needed to buy a new set of ski clothes. But for five years I've failed to find something I loved and told myself my old stuff was fine. Because it was, but it was also old and puffy and heavy. James had bought me it in 2003 when we were dating and headed out on a ski trip together. So now in 2018 he bought me another set and I LOVE it. I love my pinky purple jacket and I LOVE my (tall!) pants that mold to your body heat and feel amazing. I love them so much I had a nightmare last night that someone stole them and we couldn't get them back. And my first thought when I woke up was relief because I knew I'd put them in the back of Claire's closet where we store our ski stuff and surely no one would look there.


So, I love my new ski clothes. And the guy who went to three stores to pick them out for me.


We went to Blue Mesa for brunch. It took an extra 30 minutes because we had to avoid crossing the Cowtown Marathon which runs through our neighborhood and downtown, but it was worth the effort. Bottomless mimosas and all the Mexican brunch food you can eat.


After brunch my parents headed back to Houston (they don't look nearly old enough to have a 35-year-old, right?) and we ran a few necessary errands for things like food and double doozie cookies.


When we got home, my 3 hours of sleep from the night before finally hit and I told James I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch comforting TV. The Great British Baking Show was fired up, Cora took a nap, the big kids played outside, and James went to swim. It was completely wonderful. I wore pj's and zoned in and out, occasionally glancing at my phone to smile at birthday messages (thank you all!) and feel loved while being soothed by the British accents and weird flavor combinations in British pies. I also got a flower delivery from my sweet friend Jenny in Austin that made my whole heart happy. I'm not sure I've ever received flowers from someone who wasn't James (or myself!) and I smile every time I see them.


Several hours passed. Cora woke up, the kids rode their bikes to a friend's house to play basketball and then sometime later they came back. James came home from the pool. It was time for dinner and cooking sounded unreasonable, so we headed back out, to Gloria's this time for more Mexican food and my requisite birthday margarita. Some queso filled in the few spaces in my stomach that was still full from brunch, and my free birthday dessert was very nearly unwelcome... though it was also delicious.


My traditional cookie tower was awaiting our return and for the first time since the tradition began I just couldn't eat them. Maybe sugar overdose awareness is a sign of maturity? The birthday pig still made an appearance, and I cut one cookie into four pieces to share with the kids because traditions are important, but we saved the rest and tucked the kids in bed. My pj pants were put back on for the third time that day and I informed James our nighttime TV viewing would be more GBBS. He sighed and settled in and I decided it had been the best birthday ever.


I had family and sugar, delicious foods and new ski clothes. I climbed in bed at 10:30, warm with the knowledge that 35 was going to be great indeed.


(Then I overslept by an hour this morning and remembered that greatness comes slowly and I've only been 35 for one day so I'm still learning.)

13 comments:

  1. happy birthday rebecca! I am glad that your trip to see James' dad went as well as could be expected; good luck to navigate this.
    Blandine

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  2. happy birthday! :)

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  3. Happy birthday! 35 is great and it keeps getting better! Really!

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  4. Happy Birthday! Also, your mom slays!

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  5. Happy Birthday! I'm glad your visit to Maryland (where I live) went as well as it could go. And also, your new ski jacket is such a gorgeous color. Good job James.

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  6. Glad your trip to the IL’s went as smoothly as it did. I hope James has gained some peace with the visit.
    Anon-jlv

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  7. Happy Birthday, Rebecca! I tried to leave 3 other comments that blogger ate, and I have no idea why! I hope this one gets through. ...I think you are so brave, not only to take that trip, but to approach it in the gracious, releasing way that you did. I've been (am in) a similar situation and I am so sorry for James' many, many losses as well as yours. You are such a lovely partner to him and I hope you feel as cherished as possible as you navigated that hard trip. ... On a lighter note that dress is GORG! And thank you for the tea recommendation. I'm sick and grabbed myself one today and it's as amazing as you said. I hope your birthday joy lingers on all week. And PS those cards are THE sweetest!

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  8. Does Landon still use the dino, or are y'all all in on the birthday pig? Because if you're using both and want to add another, I think I found the eight piece set they originally came in: https://m.ebay.com/itm/Candle-Holders-Set-of-8-NEW-in-Package-Dinosaurs-Whales-2007-NOS-By-Tag/192470297356?epid=1635930158&hash=item2cd01fab0c:g:czQAAOSwm3paTEj1

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    1. Everyone gets to pick between the dino and the pig, but lately it does seem the pig is on the upswing. But more importantly, I cannot BELIEVE you found that set! I have googled and ebayed SO MANY TIMES trying to find more of them- I even contacted the antique store I originally bought them at in Siren, Wisconsin to try to find the manufacturer. You are amazing and I ordered the set immediately. The kids are going to freak out - SO MANY BIRTHDAY ANIMAL CHOICES! We may have to start out just using them all at once.

      (Seriously, this made my entire day and I read your comment at 6:30 a.m.)

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    2. I didn't realize how hard you'd been looking, so now I'm thrilled that I found them for you! I can't wait to see the new animals in action! ��

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  9. Happy Birthday!!!!

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