One or two (OK, at least two) birthdays when I was a little girl, I insisted on silhouettes of Abraham Lincoln — with whom I share my special day — taped onto dining-room windows.
These days, I much more prefer to let Abe have his own birthday, and me to have mine. Which means, ever since the Barker girls’ birthday tradition began a few years ago, going to dinner with my sisters and our mom.
This year, my birthday fell on Wednesday. My sister Jeanne had a conflict, so we instead went on Tuesday. That was fine with me; I’m a firm believer in spreading the birthday out as long as possible. I think this is a sentiment shared by my Februarians, or maybe I just made that up to hide the fact that — I’m a bit of a birthday princess.
We went to Seasons 52 , which was ever so yummy (yes, even despite a waiter whose eye-rolls we probably would have been able to see if the restaurant hadn’t been so dark. Instead, we merely sensed them)..
I think I can safely and happily speak for us all when I say we had a wonderful time. I smiled all the way home, and when I woke up on my actual day, I felt optimistic, cheerful and very lucky.
On my actual birthday, I ran eight miles, a distance I usually save for a Sunday. I confess that I took my own sweet time getting ready for work. I even stopped at Starbucks on my way in was heartened to be told that yes, I really DID get a free drink on my birthday.
That night, I went out for wine and yummy pizza, this time with dear friends. In my world, admittedly, two nights in a row going out to dinner is a bit of a rarity so I especially felt like the Birthday Princess.
The whole week was rather wonderful. I meant to write about my feelings the next day, when they were all still new, still close to the surface of my soul. But you know what happens with plans like that. Hours slip by; by the time we sit down to record what had been so fresh and so teeming with gratitude, that feeling of being loved and wearing a tiara has dissipated somewhat.
But not always. Though I don’t think my words tonight are quite as poetic as I wanted them to be before I turned into a pumpkin at midnight February 12, I can still conjure up the feelings of warmth and belonging. So maybe they’ve settled deep into my soul, which I find rather nice.
Oh, one more thing. At work on the day after my birthday, I told Cornelia, the woman who keeps our break room, the restrooms, and everything else sweet-selling and shiny, that I’d had a birthday.
She hugged me and then said this, which kind of sums everything up in the simplest and truest of ways:
“It’s always good to have a birthday.”
So for having one…and for those I love who let me unabashedly revel in being Princess Leslie…and for just feeling so darn lucky, The Grateful Runner says thank you.