So at 2am today I officially became closer to 50 than 40. Yep, my 45th birthday on this planet. My 46th year of navigating this physical existence called life. What a ride..
Birthdays in your 20s, and for most if not all, of your 30s, are pretty much just an excuse to drink far too heavily, throw caution to the fiscal wind (based purely on the premise of such an auspicious occasion), and bask in the attentions afforded you by family, friends, well wishers and social media stalkers.
Birthdays in your 40s take on a more somber tone, as the reality of your station in life combined with the (final) acknowledgement of your potentially limited time remaining on this earth, hits home with the thunderous force of a spreading middle section, dwindling physical abilities and penchant for afternoon naps.
My last 4 birthdays have been understandably tainted with the bitterness, anger and sorrow of not having Renee here to celebrate with me. Without his Queen there has been no grandiose ceremony for the (self appointed 😉) King of the family. Without their Mum here, there was no forced joy and happiness from the kids. No guaranteed special Mummy and Daddy time after the kids go to sleep really put a damper on the day, and no pats on the back to tell me how appreciated and loved I (hopefully) was made for some less than awesome celebrations.
So it was with some degree of trepidation I opened one eye this morning and looked over the angelic faces of the still sleeping children (they always seem so less demonic when asleep). Not knowing whether to bounce out of bed with the joy of a thousand birthday celebrations in my soul, or to roll over, shed a tear and hit the snooze button, I opted for optimism..
..and launched into a rousing, semi-operatic version of “Happy Birthday to me”.
Now this is where it could have gone, or in former years (post loss) would have gone, totally pear shaped. But not this time thank christ! Startled awake and looking like me the morning after one of my birthdays in my 20s – they both laughed and joined in!
Shortly after overcoming some short lived Albi tears from a poke in the eye mid hip-hip-hooray, I was ushered into the lounge for the obligatory presentation of presents.
I nearly cried right then and there.
Over the days leading up to my birthday I made no less than 3 trips to the local shops, where I was ordered to stay outside until my credit card was required. (paywave has a lot to answer for). The night before I was banished from my own house for several hours (which was actually quite nice tbh 😂) whilst preparations were being made.
And now here, at 645am on the morning of my birthday, expecting a school-made card and a mangled raw pasta creation, I stood in a streamer decorated room, eyeballing a table full of expertly wrapped presents, as two justifiably proud, grinning children looked to me for approval. Oh. My. Heart. ♥
They had collated, created, painted and crafted no less than 10 uber thoughtful presents. Some from Albi, some from Grace, and some from Renee. Individual cards accompanied these with heart meltingly beautiful words to boot.
Bless their little cotton socks! 😍
My birthday could have ended right there and still have been the best since Renee passed by a country mile. But it continued. After school drop off I swam, took myself out to lunch, had an hour massage and ended the day playing in the pool with the munchkins. A lovely dinner put on by my brother and family, complete with a beach and surf themed cake by Grace, finds me now lying here in bed, both my heart and soul full to the brim with birthday joy.
Today I could have focused on all that is not here, all that is missing, all that is not what I wished for. But today, instead of ruing a time lost, I chose to appreciate a reality.
I still wish for things that will never be again, and that may never change, but I have learned today that if I look around me, there is much to be grateful for.
I am alive.
I am healthy.
I am loved.
I am lucky.
What more could a 45yr old wish for. ✌️