Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40!


“Happy Birthday, Mumma,” they sing as they enter my room, banging the door against the wall, with Steven smiling and cringing behind them.  Hunter tries not to trip over the dog while balancing a tray with my breakfast favorites on it. The milk sloshes out of the cereal bowl and the tiny flower vase filled with the tops only of roses from my garden slides precariously across the tray, splashing water onto a stack of homemade cards.  At what age do children begin to realize you must include stem when you are cutting flowers?  And will I cry the first time I receive an actual bouquet of dandelions from Grady instead of a fistful of yellow heads?

“We made you breakfast in bed!” Rex cheers, jumping onto my feet as Hunter begins to lower the tray onto my stomach while I’m struggling to sit upright.  I am not a morning person but I bore a family of early risers.

“Hunter!” Steven barks.  “Wait until she’s sitting.  Rex, get off the bed.”

Steven hates chaos.

“It’s fine,” I smile, soothing his nerves and their deflated enthusiasm.  “Thanks, guys.  This is so sweet!”

Grady is propping up the pillow next to me and sliding under the sheets on Steven’s side.  “How come I don’t ever get breakfast in bed?” he ponders, smoothing his sheets in hopes someone will appear with a tray for him.

“Because you are always the first out of bed,” Steven says, and then leans over to kiss me.  “Happy Birthday, Gorgeous.  You are still smokin’ at 40.”

“Dad, Mom doesn’t smoke.  She knows it’s bad for you,” Rex says defensively.

Steven and I smile at each other.  Only Hunter, who is looking a little red and embarrassed, seems to understand,

“You’re right, Bud,” he says, ruffling Rex’s hair and moving to the closet.  “I meant she looks so young, for being, you know,” he raises his eyebrows up and and down like Groucho Marx and the boys dissolve into giggles.  My house of men.

“I forgot, I’m golfing today with Glenn and a couple of guys at Turner Ridge so I’ll be home by 2 or 3.  Where will you be?”

I take a sip of coffee.  I didn’t sleep well last night.  For obvious reasons.


Read the rest of this post, and the story, One Click Away, beginning on July 3 at www.godeeperliz.blogspot.com.....


Elizabeth Gordon Barrett