2^5: happy birthday to me
today is my birthday. i'm now 25 years old (and also, apparently, a recovering math geek). i've had birthdays that required a lot of planning on my part, and birthdays that required planning on the part of others. but today involved very little planning ("so kristy, what are you doing for your birthday?" "oh, i don't know, nothing really."), and it was just perfect. it ranks right up there at the top of the list.
my birthday experience technically started at 1 a.m., when i was awakened (having fallen asleep on the couch, foolishly thinking i could lie down and watch an entire TV episode at that hour) by my sweet husband kissing my forehead and telling me how happy he was to have me in his life. we went upstairs to shuttle sleeping eva to the potty and then go to bed. in her mostly-asleep state, larry told her it was now officially my birthday, and her eyes fluttered open just long enough for her to utter in a gravely 1-a.m.-style voice, "happy birthday, mama" (and then was instantly back asleep).
at a more reasonable hour of the day, i awoke to eva rustling around a bit next to me. "open your eyes, mama, it's morning. the sun woke up." i comply, and filling my visual frame is a sweet little face that lights up upon seeing my eyes. she throws her arm around my neck in a hug-slash-choke-hold and says "i'm hugging you so much because i love you." eva, do you remember what today is? a spark of recognition: "mama, it's your birthday today!" the three of us then hung out in bed being silly and cute for a bit before heading downstairs to a breakfast of pastries, smoothies, an assortment of glorious in-season citrus, and special decaf birthday coffee for mama. (the pastries came from cissi's market, the best assortment i've had in a long time. and i really liked that market in general, a nice urban touch in our own little city.)
eva and i then headed to the park to have playgroup with friends. somedays playgroup is nearly as challenging as it is rewarding (for eva or for me), but not today. today, the kids played. and played. no one hit anyone with a stick; there was no need for our intervention every 90 seconds. as a result, if watching the day on a time lapse film, you'd see me and my best mama friends sitting on the squishy playground surface next to the swings while a flurry of blurry children buzzed in the perimeter of the frame. time passed; other moms and kids left, classrooms of kids from the nearby elementary school came and left for recess periods, and our kids played independently while we had a (relatively) uninterrupted conversation. when the time lapse reel ends, you'll find that we were there for 4 1/2 hours. that in itself was a beautiful birthday gift from the wee ones.
we (finally) headed home to find larry. then somehow (an abandoned post-car-induced nap continuation, i guess it was) we all ended up lounging in bed again. after a bit, we got ready and headed out for some shopping and dinner.
larry had asked me what i wanted for my birthday, and i told him all i wanted was for him to take eva shopping to choose her own present for me. like many a toddler, she is obsessed with birthdays. and, on a daily basis (unrelated to my birthday) she wraps up little presents -- a crayon in a tissue, a toy spoon in a random box, a sticker folded around a small bead -- and gives them to me or to panowah (the ones for panowah must then sit perched on my belly until she forgets about them and i can take them off again). so, she was excited about shopping with papa to choose her present for me.
we headed to target (good ol' reliable target, perfect for every occasion). i ran parallel errands while eva and larry did their thing. when they stumbled across me later, she came trotting up to me with great enthusiasm, carrying a gift bag: "mama, i picked out a birthday present to give you at dinner! and i colored in it!" (apparently she then went on to charm the check-out person, and even paid all by herself. well, all by herself but with a bit of help from the bank of dad. not her last withdrawal, i'm sure.)
we had dinner at zocalo, which i'd been meaning to check out for ages now. it was really good food -- fresh and bright tasting, if that makes sense -- and the setting was lovely yet relaxed. perfect for the occasion (that being, a birthday dinner but on a friday evening out with a toddler, a set of requirements that limits one's options). the friendly owner and staff (not to mention the gratis chili chocolate cheesecake birthday dessert) didn't hurt either. eva was in rare form with respect to crowd-pleasing cute behavior and looked adorable in her new brown velvet dress (wardrobe change prompted by a refusal to don pants back at home). and with her hair up in a pony tail, when did she start looking like such a kid, no remnants of baby hiding in there at all?
she could hardly wait to present me with the special gift: the bag featured a roaring dinosaur (odd that she choose that, given her distaste for any images of animals bearing teeth). "make it make the loud sound, mama!" sure enough, if you push his belly he (nearly inaudibly, in a restaurant anyway) roars. eva had her ears covered and a huge grin on her face, enjoying and hiding from the roar simultaneously. i read the card she chose -- larry reported that she went with that one due to the flowers on the front -- and saw what she drew inside in black marker. (she had already told me six times "i colored in your present mama.") removing the tissue paper revealed not one but three gifts: the first one, which larry helped her with, was a mom and toddler exercise DVD. perfect, because i've been saying i could use a bit of exercise and eva's been obsessed with doing "kid exercises" (mostly yoga poses she picked up from her friends, but also things she makes up, like stretching her leg over the railing of her tower, etc). next i found a pair of knee-high socks in my favorite shade of celery green with turquoise trim. ("mama, we chosed the green ones because you might like that color i think.") and last but not least, eva proudly showed me an earring and necklace set -- and that was 100% her own idea and choosing. a few weeks ago, eva was playing with my new necklace lying on the bedside table and broke the chain. i tried not to make her feel bad about it, but she's able to sense these things (it was a chain larry bought for me on our belated honeymoon in hawaii, so i minded a little bit). despite my reassurance regarding the whole thing, she still talks about this. so, when i looked at my gift, she said proudly, "mama, i bought you a necklace that isn't broken!" my sweet baby. that whole thing shows some emotional understanding on her part that just makes me want to melt. where did this little person come from? and how did i get so lucky?
so, i next found myself crouching next to eva's chair to tell her "thank you", and she flung herself at me, arms around my neck, saying into my ear, completely unprompted there among the busy dinner crowd, "i love you mama. happy birthday." i had to hold back the tears. sitting back in my chair, i just blinked through my watery eyes at my sweet child, my amazing husband, and couldn't do anything but stare, wondering how on earth i ever got so lucky as to deserve this. this family -- this life, which contains such within it such moments of unbelievable beauty and perfection.
we headed home, she's sleeping now (thanks, papa :), and here i sit, reflecting on my lovely day. what more could i ask for? i can't imagine, but soon i'll look back and wonder how my life ever could have felt complete with out the presence of the new life that is about to join our little family. this new baby is a big part of our lives, each day, already. but for now, in at the end of my thirty-second birthday, i have all i need in the world.