It was a non-work workday for me, because I always try to take my birthday off. Not because I feel so special and need to be celebrated, probably more the exact opposite – it is just another day and if I am not in the office or meeting with a client or anything else it is just another day on my own terms, perhaps the best of gifts.
So I got up late, if anyone else in the world thinks of 5:30 a.m. as late. I went to the gym later than usual to see what that’s like – completely different vibe and feel to the place at 8 versus anytime before 7 on weekdays. Putzed around the house, thoroughly cleaned the interior of my car, wrote blog posts, decided on where we should go have dinner, chatted with both kids and invited them to join us, read my emails and texts and other birthday wishes.
Afternoon I got my B12 shot and went to the fancy cooking store with M to investigate immersion blenders, then spent some time with my newly separated friend going over her budget. Emotionally she’s a mess – completely understandable – but otherwise she is in good shape handling the practical financial and home maintenance type matters. Until the school year ends and retirement officially happens, she’s just going to try to keep her head down and not engage with her estranged husband or even her daughters about the situation. If her daughters ask how she is doing, that is one thing. Anything else to do with the separation and future plans is off-limits for discussion. Marriage, she says, is not a democracy and everyone in the family does not get a vote.
Damn, I admire her fortitude. No wonder her kids are angry; she is taking care of herself and refusing to discuss their father and the volatile situation he has thrust them all into. At least for now, anyway. She says she’s too angry to speak coherently or with any consideration, so it’s best to say nothing at all. Period. She has engaged a therapist and has friends like me to whom she can vent.
My birthday has potential to be a terribly overrated event, but I strive to make sure it is the only non-holiday each year where I am not expected to be anywhere or doing something whenever possible. I told M this morning that I’d like have dinner at Chicago Fire, because I was craving one of their caesar salads and he had not yet been there. While the kids were texting me happy birthday messages, I invited to join us if they could, apologizing for the short notice invitation. They happily agreed, and we spent a few hours, a few beers (for them), multiple glasses of water and iced tea (for M and I), eating salad and pizza and wings.
Every day, any day I get to spend time with M and my kids is truly a gift and time I cherish. Thankfully I see them a lot more often than just my birthday, but still … it was nice to get out, just us. And we got to pick up the check, because (1) we invited them, and (2) it’s my birthday and I should get what I want.
All in all, it was a terrific day.