It’s the first time I’ve been home alone since arriving one week ago! In such a constantly boisterous household with my little nieces around, I’ve been on the family channel with almost constant activity every day, including reading The Phantom Tollbooth with newly-5-year-old E (we got almost 200 pages in) and bouncing in chilly Lake Michigan with almost-2-year-old S (she loves splashing). Given my limited time with the girls in particular, who call me K.K., I didn’t really want to tear myself away for regular grown-up vacation activities like a book or a phone call or…writing. So, I didn’t. I just rolled with the days, inventing inside jokes, playing hide-and-go-seek, and going out for activities like seeing my dad’s horse.
Today, we did the whole unbearable scene of the family waving from the parking lot as the adorables drive away waving their little hands from the back seat. I felt flooded with despair for about ten minutes and then got on with a quieter day. I cleaned, did laundry, did yoga, read the New Yorker, napped, did a couple of online errands, meditated, and now it’s time to write. This is a big preamble, just trying to set the stage here.
I kicked off birthday celebrations on Thursday night with a family dinner, dance party, and jam session. It was the best party ever. As always, my mom masterfully pulled together a delicious meal over at the river house, including a made-from-scratch chocolate cake with pink frosting (my niece E perfected the shade of pink), with a little picture on top for each birthday celebrant: 40 for me, a heart for my sister, Wonder Woman for E, Fallout Shelter for my teenage cousin M, and Charlie Brown for my uncle P. The W family showed up with four bottles of Veuve Cliquot (my favorite) and we ate and drank and danced and then broke out the violin, guitar, and ukelele and played and sang and improvised hysterical blues verses, broke two glasses and spilled another, and it was a glorious evening of love and connection and music. What could be better?? I LOVED it. Party #1 rocked.
Yesterday, I got my birthday wish from my sisters: a financial consultation. (they are both financial wizards). I can now admit that I tried to get pregnant for over a year without really having a clue about how a child would (or would not) work with my finances. We sat down to start crunching the numbers and I realized that my fear was that they would look at me and shake their heads and say there was no way to make it work in San Francisco. But they didn’t–we created an action plan with several steps which will allow me to start saving now for child care. This is my favorite kind of gift–the whole scenario feels more possible and my vision of the future is more clear. I started taking the action plan steps today. Thanks, D & B!
Then, D’s husband took us out for a fancy (bday!) dinner and then left us to make room for girls’ night out, which included time in the bookstore followed by a huge monster sundae and hilariously ended before 10pm when there was still some light in the sky.
Tonight is the eve of my 40th birthday. I elected to stay home–B and my mom are in Traverse at the opening film of the TC Film Festival and my dad is playing tennis. After a day of chilly rain, the sun is bursting out over the sparkling water of Lake Michigan. It’s peaceful here. My bro-in-law just texted a photo of the girls at baggage claim in Baltimore saying they miss us already–it’s mutual!
What does my birthday mean to me? Well, first of all, I’m a Leo so I have always pushed the celebration factor to the extreme. Recently someone said to me that I seemed to have a good attitude about this milestone birthday. While I grant you that there are downsides to aging (and at 40, for me, it is primarily about how hard it’s been to get pregnant), I feel it is truly obnoxious to complain when there are so many people we’ve known and loved who haven’t been fortunate enough to make it this far. When we think of the only other possible alternative, we realize that all we can do and should do is celebrate.
Not to mention just how much learning and experience and love and craziness has led up to this day. As a cumulative number, 40 adequately represents it. 39 was just bananas and it got me to 40, to this moment, which is a good one. Now let’s look ahead.
As I turn 40, I am moving into a big, new apartment! I am moving into a new office! I am throwing myself a big party! AND I am gearing up to transfer two healthy embryos in about 2.5 weeks! My good friend T reminded me that I’m entering my fifth decade (thanks for that! 😉 ) –and I’d say I’m entering with extraordinarily positive momentum. It’s easy to say in hindsight that the babe wasn’t meant to be until now. The way the universe is throwing good mojo in my direction it feels like we’re finally almost there, maybe.
(Speaking of the apartment: I received the lease, went back and forth with questions, received the revised lease, and will sign it in person with the landlord in one week when I’m home–and the current tenant is leaving all kinds of great furniture for me! More details when I have the signed doc in hand!)
Tomorrow will be a mellow day. I’d like to be outside as much as possible. Then I’m putting on my party dress and my red heels which are totally over the top for this rural area, and we’re going to our favorite French restaurant where my parents are legitimately great friends with the French owner, and I will hopefully have something like duck and profiteroles and some champagne and we’ll toast the day.
On the occasion of my birthday, I want to tell you how much you mean to me, my dear readers, family, and friends!!!!! Whatever my 40s bring, I’m grateful that you are my companions on this journey. ❤ xoxoxo