It’s nice having a built-in party waiting for you the morning of your birthday. My gift to everyone else was not talking about it beforehand. Ryan said I talked about it a lot in April (his birthday) but haven’t since. That has mostly to do with hearing Ruthie go on and on about hers for the entire month of August and then the day after her birthday planning for next year. I was worn out.
Annie said I looked like a kid and that’s pretty much the best thing to be said to a gray-haired mama.
Mom and dad came into town and my plan-making went like this:
- Oh! We’ll get a babysitter, go out to eat, and then go karaokeing.
- Oh! We’ll get a babysitter and then go out for dinner.
- Oh! We’ll have a nice dinner at home followed by in-house karaokeing.
- We can have a nice dinner at home followed by scrabble.
- Let’s just do yard work.
But truthfully, checking things off our never-ending list is the way straight to my heart. And we’ve got ideas for that backyard that I can’t stop thinking about, so fence posts were pulled up, arbors taken down, holes filled in and more talking and planning. Not a better day to do it either, weather-wise.
Ruth made a list for Ryan of what to get me. The days leading up, Ruth kept saying how beautiful one of my gifts was, but never told me which surprised us all.
My wig. They begged me to wear it to church the next day. Another gift was a nightgown that was straight out of the senior section and when I put it on, Annie said, “You look like grandma.” I love my granny nightgowns though.
After lunch, we skipped Gertie’s nap and put on Busy Beavers (her absolute favorite show) and mom and I hightailed it to Lowes to pick up some mulch, with a stop along the way to a thrift store. When we got back, Gertie was absolutely comatose relaxed. It’s a good way to get some snuggles in.
Ryan grilled us some steaks and we had dinner outside. It’s also the only place that can hold more than four people.
We put the kids to bed, got the beloved scrabble game out, and opened some beers. We played this on my last birthday while visiting Laura Ingall Wilder’s house in Missouri, so now I feel like it needs to be a tradition. We love our scrabble games. Ryan normally wins. Mom suggested that we slip him an Ambien beforehand so it could be an even playing field.
Dad said we only ever talked when it was his turn and that made us laugh because it was true. But we argued that isn’t that better that everyone is doing something rather than them sitting in silence and you feeling the pressure to put a word down?
A few rounds later mom slipped me this note.
This is only for me to remember because it was funny and you had to be there and like to play scrabble. We all play defensively, guarding those triple word scores (nerds!). So when mom broke down and spelt J-O-T with the triple word score two spaces below the J, we all got excited… especially me because I was next after her. I looked at my letters, trying to come up with a three letter word. I found one and before putting it down, wrote it out in the air to make sure it was spelt right. I laid it out and made a big todo about all I had to go through to make sure it was the correct word. The three letter word, starting with J, was J-O-T. So mom made fun of me in a deep nerd voice “I’ve never seen that word before and it just came to me.”
We laughed and laughed.
I also got to spend some time this weekend working on a little project that may or may not come to light. At the core, it’s been therapeutic for me, but if it turns out to be more then that will just be a bonus. I’ve pulled in a friend who intimately understands my journey, her having gone through something similar, allowing us to be actual handwritten pen pals; editing and correcting and giving me suggestions on how to improve my idea. I’ve read two books back to back that were written in letter form and have become obsessed with getting back to written mail. So while we could text or meet up for lunch, this feels more special, and I’m forever thankful for her input.
Edited to add: I just walked to the mail and got a handwritten letter from another friend for my birthday! I was skipping up to the front door. You guys do know me!
At our community group last night, Ryan and I shared our faith stories. There were 12 of us there. I’d told it several times before in group settings, but I feel like it’s changed since then so was nervous to add in the new part. You could hear my voice shaking, but it felt good to acknowledge a slice of my life I’ve previously left out. A part that I thought was cliche and sappy and annoying: oh the special needs mom who says her child is a gift. How predictable (eye roll). I’m starting to embrace exactly how big of a gift she’s been to me personally, my growth finally into an adult at 38. I understand now how God knows I’m a slow learner and needed a lifelong assignment, something I can’t run away from, forcing me to hit my doubts and fears head on daily and to trust that everything will work out or at least trust that I’ll adjust if it doesn’t. I’m learning to put my energy into relationships that are a two way street and to not stress if the others fall to the wayside. The ones that stick are meant to be. I’m learning to not worry about the small details in the day-to-day, they honestly don’t bother me as much as they did before. I’m focusing my eyes on the horizon instead of my feet and lifting my head those few inches has never brought me so much peace. So I can’t help but thank you God (via Gertie) for this new perspective I couldn’t have found in any other way.
In other news, today is the first of October and that means we can get out the Halloween stuff which is the most thrilling time of the year for the girls.
“ So when mom broke down and spelt J-O-T with the triple word score two spaces below the J, we all got excited… especially me because I was next after her. I looked at my letters, trying to come up with a three letter word. I found one and before putting it down, wrote it out in the air to make sure it was spelt right.”
I was going to tease you and point out that “spelt” is a grain (which it is) and that the word you wanted was “spelled”. Then I looked it up and discovered that “spelt” is also “
chiefly British past tense and past participle of spell
Sand! That was a close call
I HATE autocorrect. I said Dang not Sand
You know how badly I want to be British! I also write “travelled” just to be annoying.