Turning 30 was my least favorite birthday yet, though I take responsibility for my dissatisfaction. I'm likely going to sound like a selfish brat throughout this post, complaining about not getting what I want. You wouldn't understand unless you knew what a big deal my mother made out of birthdays. Every birthday was truly celebrated with singing, a birthday cake with candles, big family gatherings, and whatever food you requested. Mom made sure you felt special on your birthday. Birthdays have never been about presents. In fact, I am notorious for being terrible at receiving and opening presents. I don't want things; I just want all of my favorite people together in one place.
This was the first year I didn't have a traditional birthday party. I went back and forth about trying to coordinate something special since 30 is a big birthday. Many months ago I wanted to run a marathon, but those goals fell to the wayside. About two months ago I wanted to plan a Zumbathon to raise money and support for my friend Karen. I didn't follow through with those plans once I realized how quickly her health was declining. I kept waiting, then ran out of time to do anything.
My friends and family certainly acknowledged my birthday, but it seemed like everything was just a bit off--poor timing, incorrect food orders, major traffic delays, uncomfortable heat, inconsiderate decisions, overpriced food, etc.
Enough venting...here were the highlights from my birthday weekend:
Friday was the traditional sister birthday lunch, complete with burrito bowls, cookie pizza, and key lime pie. Sisters for the win!
Saturday evening was filled with Jesse's side of the family. Most of that time was spent outside playing in the water,
and semi-successfully eating pixie sticks.
I made two large batches of cracker candy and rice krispy treats to share, though I ended up taking most of it home.
Sunday was my actual birthday. Jackson was supposed to hold the collection basket at church, but he was in a less than cooperative mood. I took Maddie with me instead. She sat quietly during the sermon, coloring her children's bulletin. She shook hands during passing of the peace, stood up and hummed during hymns, and held the basket steadily all by herself in front of the entire congregation. I was so proud of her!
Jesse and the other kids apparently went to Walmart to buy a birthday cake while Maddie and I were gone. I came home to lit candles and Jesse and the kids singing "Happy Birthday".
I was mildly depressed over the lack of a family birthday party (again, my choice that I won't make again). Depression along with lethargy from eating cracker candy for lunch caused me to settle in for a long birthday nap.
Once I woke up and got over myself, the kids and I colored and sang nursery songs. Maddie pretended to cut my hair. It was the most relaxing birthday present.
Once I decided to go see a movie by myself, my sister and her youngest son unexpectedly showed up. Jesse went out of his way to try and make my birthday special by arranging childcare and planning a surprise dinner. Unfortunately, I was a bit of a curmudgeon. (Note: I despise surprises. If you feel the need to surprise me, please at least tell me, "We're going to do something later. Don't make any plans.") He took me to a ridiculously overpriced restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Charlotte skyline.
Most women would be elated at this, but I am frugal to a fault. Our parking, check, and tip totaled just under $100...and I had water and potato chips for dinner!! Seriously, living the high life is just not for me. All I could think about is how we could have had the huge family gathering and spent less money.
The evening took a turn for the better while we relaxed inside a French bakery, then headed to the Whitewater Center for fireworks. Since the fireworks show was an impromptu decision, we did not have a blanket or chairs. There was still plenty of space and the grass was soft and dry. It was unexpectedly pleasant relaxing on the grass, intertwined together.
The fireworks were enormous and beautiful, despite a lack of music during the show.
I've learned my lesson--even if I am an adult, I still require a birthday party to make it a great day. I don't need fancy dinners or presents, but I do need to be surrounded by my whole family and made to feel special. This was my first of many, many lessons I'll learn about myself throughout my 30's.