Next year, I am having a stealth birthday.
I’m going to pick a great day – maybe a sunny day in mid-May, when the lilacs are blooming and the trees are wearing brand new baby leaves and the air hints of summer to come. And then, I’m going to take a leisurely walk through the woods while the older kids are at school, and I’m going to nap with the younger ones, and I’m going to take everyone for ice cream in the afternoon just because I can, and I’m going to enjoy our first grilled carne asada of the season. And then – when we are all lingering at the table and laughing – I will announce, “Today is my birthday! Let’s have cake!”
And it will be perfect.
Because lately? My birthday, it conspires against me. It’s like the antithesis of a good day, the opposite of “how to celebrate Kelly.”
Case in point? Last Thursday, my 39th birthday. My day started at 3:00 AM, when Natalie stumbled into my room (after I had gotten up with a crying Kieran) and said, “I don’t feed good. My tummy hurts and I can’t get back to sleep.”
I did what all good mothers do – I mumbled something like, “You’ll be fine,” and I waved the air in her direction and she went back to bed.
I woke up a few hours later, with a toddler on one side and a baby (in soaking wet pajamas) on the other. Corey wasn’t around because he was on a business trip, but he was coming home that afternoon. All in all, not a bad start.
Then Natalie came in, looking somewhat ashen. “I still don’t feel good, Mom,” she said.
I could detail the rest of the day, but I bet you know where this is going. Let’s just say: My birthday lunch at a friend’s house was canceled. The rest of my plans to have a productive day at home went out the window. I spent most of my time trying to get a cranky baby to sleep in his own home (15-minute naps were all the rage that day) while Natalie and Teyla sat transfixed in front of the TV for – wait for it – eight hours straight.
Corey got home (the best birthday gift I could imagine, believe me), we ordered dinner from Outback, I only got to eat a few bites before the incredibly overtired baby demanded to be put to bed. Connor, who was fine all day, threw up in my bedroom after his shower. (Birthday aromatherapy: vomit.) And Teyla went to bed with a fever. (Oh look! I detailed it for you anyway!)
And so the day ended. I ate a piece of cake from Teyla’s birthday party, just five days before, and called it a night.
Here's the thing: I wasn’t upset. In fact, it made me giggle a little. My kids rarely get sick. I don't believe we've had a sick day yet this school year. What are the odds all this would happen on my birthday?
Apparently, pretty good. Turns out, last year, on my birthday, Natalie got sick. (I am totally serious! Go read it for yourself!)
And the year before that? I was in a foul mood, possibly because my Mom was having surgery that very day to discover if she had a very serious form of cancer. (She didn’t, which totally redeemed the day. But before we knew the news? It was dicey.)
So next year? I turn 40. I need to have a good birthday to kick off a new decade. So I’m not announcing when it will be.
(But I’m thinking May. Just don’t tell my children.)