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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

My Birthday

I turned 52 this year and now that I am finally doing better with keeping my expectations low for how much hoopla there will be on my behalf, Rainman and the kids managed to do a pretty decent job of making me feel special this year.  Go figure.

Rainman attempted to take me out for a relaxing breakfast on my birthday.  It was a Saturday.  He had to work at noon (which means leaving our house by about 11:15 to make sure he gets in on time).  He kept puttering around the house and I kept pacing saying things like, "Shouldn't we get going?"  "Maybe we should drive separately so we won't be a in a rush."  He pooh-poohed me and assured me that it wouldn't be rushed.  (I am just like my mom in that regard - I can remember the rare times when we went out to eat after church to Mel-O-Lane.  Dad and us kids would wolf down our meals - chug the Mountain Dew (the only time we got to have pop!) - and be ready to hit the road.  There would be my mom sitting back in her chair just calmly sipping her cup of coffee and disgustedly saying to us, "Don't rush me.  I am enjoying my coffee.").  My point is, when I get to go out to eat, I am just like my mom.  I like to take my time, enjoy being waited on, and just relax. 

Remember these bottles?

When we got to my number one choice of locations, there was a line out the door (Luckily, I had kind of figured this would happen since it was now mid to late Saturday morning, so I had a back up place in mind.)  Off we went to my back up option number two....and...yup.....line of waiting customers outside.  So, yes, my birthday breakfast ended up being at Chick-Fil-A.  Good thing I really like Chick-Fil-A!

Unfortunately, between home and the three restaurant stops, Rainman and I had gotten into a tiff, so by the time we sat down to eat, he took my birthday card  out of his pocket and shoved it across the table to me with a semi-snotty "Happy Birthday!"

Anyone that has been married for any length of time, knows exactly what I am talking about, right?

It was a very sweet gift, but at the time, I felt like it was something unnecessary and way too expensive.  Notice I said "at the time".  But, more on that later!

The kids gave me sweet gifts this year.  S-girl and V-girl gave me small, thoughtful gifts - things I needed or would really use - a new hair brush - a bath bomb.  L-girl got new family pictures printed for our wall.  D-man and A-girl, broke college students, both said that they wanted to take me out to eat.  A-man is 14 and just sort of huddled around everybody else as my gifts were open.  I did get a hug and an "I love you" from him though.  I will take it.

I got Chinese take-out for my birthday meal and a foot massage and pedicure by my girls.  It was a good birthday.

Now back to Rainman's gift.....which was.....a night alone at a bed and breakfast.

Let me tell you about my life now that the kids are getting bigger.  When it is not sports season, I spend a lot of evenings my bed....reading....or taking a bath....whilst reading.  When I say "a lot", I really mean pretty much every night.  I have given up watching t.v. - with an occasional Netflix show here and there.  So, my evenings are very quiet and solitary - since everyone else still wants to watch t.v. or is just doing their own thing.  Every now and again, the kids and I will play some games, but pretty much, I think they feel they have spent all day with me and are done with me by the end of the day.

As I opened his gift in the middle of Chick-Fil-A, he said things like....I made sure it had a nice bath tub....and you can read on the private balcony, etc.


But, I thought....I do that for free every night at my own house!

He had actually looked at the family calendar (a rarity) and reserved my room so I wouldn't put it off (which I totally would have).

This is where he sent me.

It was actually great.

Here is what I realized....I do spend a lot of time alone either reading or working, but I am also interrupted a lot by questions, having to referee disagreements, or having to use my Solomon type wisdom to decide what is fair in their quest for more computer time.  I see (or hear) the kitchen getting dirty and people not cleaning up after themselves, so even if I go to bed early to read, I know there will be a mountain of dishes in the kitchen just waiting for me when I get up in the morning.  When I awake, there are also just random piles of shoes and socks spread throughout the house - even an occasional pair of undies that have been  mysteriously abandoned by their owners.  

You moms will get the idea, I think.  While I read, there is almost constant chaotic background noise (music, t.v., laughter, fighting, cheering for sports, impromptu wrestling matches).  

Mental chaos.  

I almost always awake to...a messy house.  

Physical chaos.

At the B&B, I was truly alone.  Literally.  I was the only guest and the innkeeper doesn't stay on site.  So, I locked myself in and rattled around in that big old house by myself.  I did have a bit of work to do to meet a deadline, but I sat on my balcony and typed away.  The only interruptions were from me watching people walk or bike by in front of the house.  There were also occasional tourist stops in front of the house.  I felt a bit like a minor celebrity as I would stop my work to wave at them from my perch on the balcony.

When I finished my work and sent it off to my boss, I read.  

I sat in the massage chair downstairs for a LOOOOOOOONG time.  I took a bath.  I shaved all my bits and bobs.  I exfoliated.  I moisturized.  I read some more.  I used Door Dash for the first time and wasn't murdered. (My son, D-man recommended it because he works in a dorm on his campus and said they get deliveries from Door Dash all the time and he said  the guys seem nice and normal.  That didn't stop me from texting him messages like, "I did it.  I am awaiting my very expensive cheesesteak and fries...and possibly my murderer.  Just know that I love you....."   After my food was delivered, I texted him, "I am alive and unsullied". LOL  I crack myself up.)  

Really, the Door Dash thing was a bit expensive, but when you don't want to go out and get your own food/can't get your own food - it is pretty awesome.  I did it all from my phone.  I ordered.  I paid/left a tip.  They sent me a text that they had gotten my order.  They sent me a text when my order was picked up by the "Dasher", and literally sent me a text when my "Dasher" parked his car and was walking up to the door!  This is the kind of thing that makes me feel old and realize how good this younger generation has it with these kinds of things.  In my day, you had to drive in the snow, up hill both get yourself food. 😉  

Breakfast at the B&B was wonderful and unrushed and I could just take my time over my coffee with no pressure.  The innkeeper did pop in and chat with me a few times as people tend to do when they find out you have 6 kids....and homeschool.  It was definitely a splurge, but, great job, Rainman!

I am a teeny tiny bit ashamed that I did spend almost the whole time reading. Almost.  I was also able to spend time thinking and praying.  Again, something I "think" that I do at home, but in retrospect, I don't do it as often as I should and even when I do ends up rushed and....thoughtless.  It was nice to go a little deeper.

One thought that kept rearing its head was Rainman and I becoming foster babies.  My parents were foster parents for 25 or 30 years.  But, I have been reluctant to be a foster parent, especially for babies, because I remember how attached my mom would get and how she would cry when they would leave.  I didn't want to do that to myself, but, that is kind of selfish, isn't it?

Rainman and I are still mulling over the realities of bringing in extra tiny people to our family, so we shall see.  (Yes, we have been bringing extra little people into our family for years - but most of them go home at the end of the day)  I was thinking of the practical things like - we already have most of the "baby stuff" - we have a lot of love here - we all love babies - babies are portable so they could easily go with us to sports/school events/church with us.  We will see....we are very early in the thought process.  But, pray for us, will you?  Age is factoring into our thought process a bit.  I am a bit leery of losing sleep again.

I completely get that I am getting older.  But, I still forget.  Kind of like I sometimes forget that I am overweight and then I see a picture of myself....and think, "Oh yeah....that is right....I am fat."

Here is a recent example:  V-girl and S-girl decided that they wanted to paint their bedroom because it was too little girlie for them and too "Neopolitan" looking (like the ice cream - and it was....brown on the bottom, white chair rail and pink on top).

Anyway, the girls picked out a color and I got to work...thinking I would knock it out in a day.   This is where the "Oh yeah....I am old now" snuck up on me.  I did manage to get it done in 2 days (with the girls doing the little touch up spots for me because the thought of climbing up that stupid ladder one more time or even sitting on the folding chair and bending over to get the spots near the baseboards had me in a tizzy.  They also got paint on the ceiling and I just looked at it and said, "Meh....who will be looking at your ceiling, right girls?"  I was not climbing up that stupid thing one more time!)

It looks great, but seriously, I was sore from my finger tips to the tips of my toes.  I think the only part of my anatomy that was not sore was my head.  That is it.  Sad.

So, then I think, what am I  even thinking by considering taking in extra little people that I will have to get up in the night with?  But, then I think about those poor little babies and think, if not me...then who?  Will it end up being someone that doesn't love babies the way my family loves babies?  I love how V-girl has gotten to be a psuedo-big sister to the extra kids we have watched for the past 5 years.  You don't really realize the natural life skills that are taught when there is a younger sibling around.  Even the simple ones, like being aware of someone else's needs or having to wait for the baby to stop crying or get their diaper changed before you can ask your mom a question.  Little things that are actually quite big.

Selfishly, again, I think of the fact that I am finally getting back to my singing and am enjoying being in 2 bands.  I have time to write and have gotten some articles published with  more possibilities looming.   Will those things go away if we take on part-time/temporary care for babies?  I don't know.  Should I even consider those things as part of my decision?   

Anyway, happy birthday to my rambling self.