Forty Gifts


I woke up and my children hugged me.

I walked to the coffee shop, like I do every morning, and got a hot Americano.

When I got home, Esme stood on the door step with one card and Desmond held another. 

Randy Newman sang "You've got a friend in me" when I opened the "Toy Story" birthday card from the kids. 

My eyes filled with tears because of how much the movie series has won the hearts of my family. The tears made it hard to read. 

Tobias opened the card over and over and over and danced to the song.

While I read another from Kent: "Pooh!" whispered Piglet. "Yes, Piglet?" said Pooh."Oh, nothing," said Piglet. "I was just making sure of you."

Friends from across the street knocked on the door and two of their daughters delivered hand-drawn cards.

Kind messages on Facebook started to stream in.

It wasn't even 8:30 yet.

My parents sang "Happy Birthday" to me on my answering machine. 

I rode my bike into Old Town to meet with an architect for a story assignment.

The ladies at the front desk smiled.

There was a gorgeous breeze on the ride and not a trace of humidity.

The architect was smart and interesting and the project is an exciting one for the neighborhood.

"It's a great day for a ride," the burly guy said to me as I got on to the elevator to head back to the lobby. "Sure is," I said. 

When I got home, I realized I needed some ingredients to make my birthday cake, so I hopped back on the bike and rode to Giant. 

"Hey look at you; you're riding too," said the guy who stood in back of me in line. He bought a loaf of white bread and sliced ham, hung the bag over his bike which was parked next to mine and we rode off together. Going different directions. 

My mother was sitting in the rocking chair on my porch when I got home.

So was a vase of Queen Anne's Lace flowers and a lovely note from my neighbor. 

My mother delivered a beautiful, handmade card and gift from my brother.

My mother and I walked around my garden and looked at the flowers in bloom. I showed her the cutting from my grandmother's rose that's thriving.

Then we walked to a neighborhood restaurant for lunch. 

Where I met Mean Louise for the first time. In the flesh. 

She was charming.

My sandwich dripped with delicious cheese and the waitress brought a ramekin of chocolate chips for dessert. 

I got a microdermabrasion facial. It felt like a Shop-Vac on my face. In a good way. 

When I came home, I peeked into the bedrooms and found everyone napping including Kent. 

He took the day off work for my birthday. 

It was the only present I asked for. 

I tiptoed out of the house and went for a massage. Holy hell, was it ever a massage!

There's pain that hurts good and pain that's just misery. Michael tapped both.

Because of my birthday, one of my favorite baristas gave me an iced Americano on the house.

My kids ran into the coffee shop as I waited. "Happy Birthday, Mama," Tobias said and hugged my leg. 

He looked like such a big kid running in. 

They'd just been to the custard shop next door to buy me a mint chocolate chip birthday cake. 

Which meant I didn't have to make my own. 

I took a hot bath. 

Josephine made me a birthday crown of fairy stickers and plastic beads. 

My family sang Happy Birthday and I blew out the candles on a 40th filled with love and so many, many blessings. 


Dana blogs at Feast After Famine.

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