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Birthday Shenanigans

So I had a birthday last week. Number 59 in case you were wondering. Birthdays don’t bother me much (although 60 might be another story), and we generally don’t make much fuss about them around here.

But this year. This year I had the best birthday I can remember in a very long time. Shall I tell you about it? Yes? Ok here goes.

I honestly didn’t even remember it was “the day” until Greg told me Happy Birthday. And then this happened:

This boy is three weeks short of his 18th birthday, graduating two days after that, and is in the throes of last band concerts and final exams. He’s got decisions to make, important ones. I imagine it’s pretty busy inside his head and he took the time to text me. It gave me tears for sure – priceless.

Next I had a delicious birthday breakfast with my parents, and as always it was really good to chat. I came home to the amazing smell of my all-time favorite dessert … a Texas sheet cake my mother-in-law made for me. (No nuts. My birthday, she said, so no nuts if I didn’t want nuts. I didn’t, so no nuts.) Yummmmmmmmm is what I say about that.

Then I took a birthday nap. Also delicious.

Later, Lincoln (8) came after dinner to spend the night. The whole family came along to drop him off, and they came bearing gifts.

This one, from Lincoln, is hands down my favorite.

I actually gave him this “joy journal” two years ago at Nini Camp. And Friday he gave it back to me, mostly completed. I can’t even tell you the joy it I felt and continue to feel as I browse through the pages. I will treasure it for all of my days.

And THEN … Saturday. Christa had asked me earlier in the week if I had plans Saturday – no I did not, I told her. And then suddenly I did. All day plans, she said. Secret plans. No hints. At all.

She picked me up at 9:30 and as we started driving she told me we were going to see Lexi! Oh my goodness, I’ve been wanting to see the child’s college campus, dorm, and the little town she now lives in. Talk about a happy surprise!

Second part? Lexi didn’t know we were coming. Christa had a devious plan for how to surprise her, and I must admit I was impressed. She called Lex (it was 11:30 by now), woke her up (of course) and told her she needed the odometer reading from her car for the insurance company. Because of her speeding ticket (83 in a 70, yikes). Right now.

(Ok she didn’t lie. The insurance company really does need her odometer reading, but maybe not RIGHT then. Also, I do not envy their car insurance payment.)

Fast forward about five minutes. Oh how I wish I had good video of her stomping down the sidewalk to her car … did I mention it was snowing? Yep. We had backed into the space directly behind her and were practically laying down in the seats so she couldn’t see us, and just as she got to her car Christa honked the horn. Long. I tried to get a video, but we started laughing so hard at her still-mad but now also confused  face that the video is basically of the ceiling of my van. Too bad for you – it was priceless! She stomped over to the van, crawled inside and said, “What are you doing here??”

And then she started to cry. Tears spilled over, her bottom lip quivered, and suddenly she looked three years old again. “Why are you crying honey?” “I DON’T KNOW!” Sweet girl. I imagine it was mostly from a big pile of swinging emotions, from mad to surprised to glad and maybe still a little mad.

Of course Christa and I had no idea what she had planned for the day – finals are looming. So we proposed a few ideas, asked her if she wanted to join us for any or all of them, told her “no” was a perfectly ok answer. Immediately: “I want to do all of it!”

We visited an interestingly weird place that was a combo salvage grocery store/Amish store, where I found things like an entire bag of laundry pods for 75 cents. Also bean soup mix. And a box of Grape Nuts the size of … I don’t know what … it’s big. Really big, and for cheap.

Then lunch, then a flea market, where we each found a couple of fun things).

Hugs all around, and then it was time to part ways. She drove one way and we went the other. It couldn’t have worked out any better, and I simply can’t find the words to tell you what a special time it was. If I could, I would probably cry. (I might be a bit choked up right now. Maybe. Feelings, ugh.)

Last but definitely not least, we had about a two hour drive home. Add that to the two hours of drive time getting there. (2+2=4 which is a lot of hours. I only tell you this because math is hard.)

My best girl and I haven’t had that much time alone together in I can’t remember how long. Four kids, a number of … we’ll call them unusual … pets, and two rambunctious dogs, a big busy work-from-home job, a (wonderful) husband who has a big work-from-home job, two high school graduations in two years, and a move. It’s been a little busy around there! So Saturday we talked, and we talked, and we talked some more, and even though I said some other things were my favorite, now that I’m writing this I realize that the windshield time with her was really REALLY the best part.

See why I say it’s the best birthday I’ve had in a long time? So many lovely surprises, and for someone who generally doesn’t care about birthdays, this one was a biggie! It truly did my heart good, start to finish.

Here’s to surprises!


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