#1 I didn't really achieve much.
#2 I spent a bit of the afternoon crying.
The not achieving much part is a no-brainer. If you manage to get any work done at all on your birthday, you're a legend or you need more people in your life. I spent hours on Facebook reading birthday messages and replying to them. I had a couple of visitors and a few phone calls. I think I managed to draft and cut only two leotards and a few pair of tights.
The crying part was NOT because I was unhappy, disappointed or hurt. I'm not a big crier. In fact I hate crying - especially in public. But I think my virus has made me a little soft and thee's been some pretty tragic things happen lately so I've actually spent more time crying this year than I have in the last five.
The thing that triggered all the tears was a visit from my sister and my Mum. Julie had arrived first bearing gifts. She gave me the first present ever that hinted of my increasing age - a wheat heat. It's a special heat pack filled with wheat and linseeds that you heat in the microwave. This was for my dodgy back. And the sad thing is that I was terribly excited to get it. I'm wondering If I'll be able to contain my joy when I get my first walking stick.
And then Mum gave me the gift from her and Dad. It was in a ring box and my immediate thought was that it was funny that I was going to get two rings on my birthday when I rarely wear them. I opened the box and found this.
It's a really pretty ring and it fit me perfectly. But I still didn't get it. And then Mum explained that it was my Grandmother's engagement ring and that's when I burst into tears.
I had a really close relationship with my Grandma. She's the one who taught me to sew - it's because of her teaching me to make a gingham apron that I now spend my days making leotards. I spent many happy hours out on her farm, picking grapes and tomatoes, swinging from the willow tree, hitting a tennis ball against the door of the garage, playing dress-ups ... My memories from then are so vivid and like a warm hug. You could always count on Grandma making you feel special. She died a few years back now and when she died I bought a gold locket that I wear constantly to remind me of her and Grandpa.
Mum knew that I'd been feeling pretty low lately - the illness, family issues and a few other things had made me struggle with a few things like self-worth. She valued that ring - it was her Mum's ring and it was the one few things that she'd really wanted as a remembrance when Grandma had died. But she also knew how much it would mean to me so she gave it to me. And I'm sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes again.
I couldn't explain about the ring to anyone without crying again - but they weren't sad tears. I've been so moved by Mum's sacrifice and reminded again about having all that love when I was growing up. I can't ever remember having a more special, meaningful day.
But it wasn't over yet. Luke arrived home with a big bunch of lilies - I've left them in my workroom so every day that I open the door I'm surrounded by their amazing fragrance. Josh gave me a culinary tour of Korea - some new things to taste. And Sam's bought me a book voucher because he knows how much I love to read and that choosing the book is almost as much fun as reading it.
And then there's the chocolate ...
A bouquet of chocolate from a running friend and too many peanut M&M's to eat in one sitting.
And then this masterpiece from my big sister, Julie. It was a tricky one to cut - but really delicious.
I've come away from my birthday feeling loved and valued and really blessed with having so many lovely people in my life. It's really what birthday's are all about, isn't it?