The alarm clock rings as usual at 5:30 am. Mike reaches over and wraps one arm around me, and I scoot my body closer to his, feeling his warmth. I press the snooze button on my phone and lay it underneath my pillow, enjoying the next 5 minutes of love radiating from my sleepy husband. “Happy Birthday, Super Jewel,” he whispers. The room is still dark, the day hasn’t yet begun for our family. A smile spreads across my face as I realize that this is my first birthday as Mrs. Christian, the first birthday I celebrate, able to wake up in the arms of the man of my dreams.
Throughout the rest of my tumultuous, erratic day, which was also my 44th birthday, I would recall these few, tender moments and remind myself that the simplest of things, the least expensive, the most innocuously presented of gifts, are the most precious to me.
After my quick cuddle with my husband, I went into the kitchen to enjoy a quiet, hot cup of coffee on my special day. The children were not yet awake, and the house was dark and quiet. As I sat in my favorite chair to read my favorite blogs, I happened to peer into the cup and spot a medium sized cockroach, doing what appeared to be a backstroke in his morning caffeine bath. I jumped up out of the chair, poured out my cup and the remaining coffee in the pot. I’m sure that little guy just wanted to make sure that he wished me a happy birthday, but I had not invited him to the party!
As I waited for a new, roach-free pot of coffee to brew, I woke my daughter up and got her ready for school. As she waited for her bus, I went back to the kitchen to make myself a belated cup of coffee. Kasie came back into the house, “My bus isn’t here yet.” At the same time, her bus driver called and informed me that they would be 45 minutes late for pickup. Happy Birthday to me!
As the boys woke up, I told myself that I could drink my coffee while I shared a quaint birthday breakfast with my three children. Yes. I was blissfully unaware that three children are incapable of doing anything that could ever even come close to being described as quaint.
With breakfast over, I sent Kasie back out to wait for her bus, and began readying the boys for their school bus. Both boys were complaining of sore throats and coughing, but I wrote it off as a pre-Christmas case of “schoolitis” and forged ahead.
After all three children were presumed safe and happy at school, I went off to work for a few hours. Mike had asked me out on a real date for my birthday. I skipped breakfast anticipating the yummy lunch of heirloom beet salad ahead of me. I had a goal to write 3,000 words for my novel, and a few other things to do before heading out on my date with him. I was fortunately just able to finish those tasks when I received a call from the school nurse. My son, Jacob was complaining of a stomach ache. I sent Mike (wonderful husband that he is) off to pick him up from school while I completed my few remaining tasks, our romantic birthday date derailed.
When Jacob arrived home from school, he was burning up with fever, and his pre-Christmas schoolitis had graduated into a full-fledged stomach virus. Mike pulled the red, plastic vomit bowl from its hiding place in the cabinet and placed it next to Jacob while he napped off and on. We then called my parents and cancelled our birthday party plans for the evening. My mother had spent days preparing to celebrate my birthday with family at her home. She had made barbeque chicken, green beans, salad, corn on the cob and my favorite, potato salad. She had decorated a beautiful banner celebrating my special day, and even invited the kids over to sign their names and stamp their handprints on it, in our family tradition. She had even made a special trip to the cheesecake factory to pick up my favorite birthday dessert, white chocolate, peppermint bark cheesecake.
As dinner time quickly approached, Mike and I decided that I could bring the one healthy kid over to my mothers with me, to celebrate the day as best we could. Throughout the entire day, Mike, my children, and my mother kept apologizing to me about the disaster of my day. I could not stop smiling. “What disaster?” I thought. I have a home that has cockroaches. What a blessing it is to have a home! I have children, who are normally healthy, and who just happen to be sick on my birthday. I have healthy children! I woke up next to my husband, who I love on my special day. So, our fancy date was cancelled. I have a husband!!! Last year I did not! And let’s not forget that I have a book to write on this busy day, and the ability to do so only because of the blessings that God has abundantly showered onto me in the past year. The flexibility to work from home, the support of my loved ones, encouragement from those who love me and believe in me? Check. On all accounts.
After the “party” was over, and I returned to my home, I collapsed into bed next to the same man who was the first to wish me a happy birthday at the beginning of my day. “Do you want me to read from One Thousand and One Nights?” “Yes, I would really like that,” I replied. Before he began, he said, “I’m so sorry about your day.” I smiled, and kissed him. I understand that my loved ones wanted my day to be special. They love me, and they wanted to give me gifts and celebrate the day.
What they couldn’t understand is that all the distractions and inconveniences of the day reminded me of how blessed I truly am!
My life is so full, it is bursting at the seams! At 44 years of age, I feel that my cup (finally) runneth over. If you told me that I could have a do over of yesterday, I would tell you to repeat the entire thing, just the way it was, cockroach, too.