Family Magazine

Happy Birthday to Me

By Sherwoods

 This week I turned 39 years old.  As birthdays go, it was a pretty good one.  Since I'm the teacher, principal, guidance counselor, and school nurse, I used my authority to cancel school.  I briefly flirted with the idea of holding school anyway, but thankfully my sanity returned and everyone was happy for the break.  

Brandon worked from home this week, so we enjoyed a delicious breakfast of crepes (I also briefly considered waking up at 5 am to exercise as normal, but again made the right choice and slept in).  I happily left everyone to clean up, and then enjoyed spending the rest of the day doing exactly what I wanted.  

I didn't teach anyone school, feed anyone lunch, change any diapers, entertain any children, put any of them to bed or get them up from naps, clean up, or cook food.  It was wonderful.  

In years past, a good birthday would have involved elaborate celebrations requiring extensive planning, with the entire world throwing me a parade, but I've gotten older, and with age comes much more reasonable desires and expectations.  Now all I need to be happy is to get to take a day off from taking care of everyone else.

Brandon, Kathleen, and Sophia had spent several hours the evening before making an eight-layer Russian Honey Cake for my birthday.  The frosting didn't turn out as thick as it should have, thanks to using sometimes-unreliable local whipping cream, but the cake was delicious.  And more than the taste, I appreciated the hours of work the three had put into making my cake. 

Happy Birthday to Me

This birthday was much more quiet than my birthday last year, where I celebrated with friends and other January birthday ladies here in Tashkent.  We all went out to dinner together and enjoyed partying long into the night.  It's strange to look back to a year ago and remember how normal life was.  We were less than two months away from the beginning of covid in Uzbekistan, and at the time the sickness was just something that was troubling China.  Nobody could have imagined that more than half of the women we were partying with would be gone in two months and those of us left wouldn't see each other for months, or perhaps ever again.  It's strange what a year can bring.

Next year I will turn forty, and my once-firm plans to celebrate with friends in Vienna have become more aspirational.  Hopefully another year will see a mostly-normal world, but who knows?  I guess I'll have to do what everyone else who wants to know the future has to do: wait and find out.

But for this year, I'm grateful to have celebrated my birthday with my family, and enjoyed birthday wishes from friends and family all over the world.  I'll never complain about that.

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