Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Birthday Goodness

I turned 39...again, yesterday. My birthdays have, for some time now, been solitary affairs; me and the cats, maybe the office, a few cards, but rather quiet and almost just another day. Yes, I'll admit there was some resentment, over the years, that people didn't seem to acknowledge my birthday, but I have grown out of that. How egotistical can you be to demand that people recognize this date? It's like the price of your friendship is how much stuff they bestow on you for an arbitrary date on the calendar. I'm rather embarrassed, when I think back to some of those kinds of comments that passed my lips.

This being my 'year of gratitude', all I really wanted from anyone was the acknowledgement that we are still friends and will continue to be friends for the next year. It's kind of like a contract, renewable once a year. It's time for review. Has it been a good year? Yes? Well, then, let's renew it for another year.

I have made some friends via this game that I play who believe I deserve more than just a virtual handshake and an agreement that we'll be friends for another year. "I need a birthday/Christmas list from you," was the cry. My protestations that I didn't need anything from them fell on, essentially, deaf ears. Then, after a conversation with one of them, I realized that they want to send stuff because we're friends, not out of any duty or an attempt to buy friendship. Friends buy things for each other because they are, well, friends. They see something and think, "Deb would love this!" As much as I say, "You don't have to get me anything. You friendship is more than 'enough'", for them, and for me, too because I think the same thing, a token or tokens of that friendship is the natural expression.

The big box came on Friday along with a box from Carole. When Charly said he'd picked up "a few" things, I had visions of, at most, a handful of items. I could put both cats in this box. That design on the box is colored duct tape and Charly said he used three (!) rolls to cover it. I couldn't get into it with a pair of scissors so I resorted to a steak knife. Inside were packages wrapped in green bubble wrap and red tissue paper. Packages and packages and packages.

My first reaction was the old chestnut, "I don't deserve all of this." I think it's wise to have that feeling. If you felt that you did deserve 'all' of this, it's not a far jump to thinking you deserve 'all' of something else and then what reigns in your ego? "Oh lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way," goes the silly song. But, perhaps, on this day, I can allow myself to step into the "I am deserving" area just once.

Charly insisted I open something; he wanted me to open everything but I refused as it wasn't my birthday. So I opened two packages and then, after the tree was up, removed everything from the box. The contents were many and the girls even got a couple of things. I...I really don't deserve all of this. It must have cost a small fortune. I can't reciprocate for this kindness. All these things, and more, ran through my head.

Hold the phone here and let's take a few steps back. For once, this is about me, in a very legitimate way. Charly wanted to do this. He had enormous fun going out and finding all these things, wrapping them and then trying to find a box of the proper size. I think he also took perverse pleasure in wrapping that box with duct tape.

One of my best friends, Patt, also sent a few things. She got to go to Paris in the summer. She brought back a bookmark, magnets, a small note pad and real Swiss chocolate. I don't know what the words are on the box. I think they are German. Carole sent Ghirardelli instant hot cocoa and the best socks. As I have had to get rid of several pair as not being fixable anymore, socks without holes were extremely welcome. Plus, they are loud.

Those are bears, but it doesn't take much to look at them and think they are Pilchards.

And there is still a box coming from Meredith. AAAAHHHH! I don't.....

It is a measure of one's life that people do things for you. In my year of gratitude, I have come to see that the grousing and complaining I did, mainly to myself, was affecting how I looked at life. It's easy to get down. Cripes, I find myself struggling with it now as my knees really, really hurt and getting around is an exercise in pain endurance. Dang, this rheumatoid arthritis sucks. Oh woe is me.

In looking at things from the point of view of gratitude, warm socks are a godsend. Oh look! More stickers, just in time for the Christmas cards. I have wonderful scented bath gels and lotion. The Sensual Amber fragrance is something I have smelled before, somewhere, a long time ago. I know that scent. It's a scent of warmth and comfort but I cannot remember where I would know it. I do know it's something from childhood. I've got a book to read and a bookmark to keep my place while I sip luxury hot cocoa. Any one of these things would have been enough. The fact that I received all of them fills my heart with joy. I realized last night, that it's been awhile since I had joy, the giggly kind.

So, to quote Joanne Woodward in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Really good indie movie.), "My heart is full." It was a very good birthday.

Beverage:  Edinburgh's Finest tea


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