Last week was a long one. Tuesday Number Two Son ended up in Emerg after wiping out in the skateboard park on his bike. Nothing broken and he was wearing his helmet but enough blood on the pavement that passersby were going to call 911. Luckily his big brother had the walkie talkie and although it was a half an hour past when they were supposed to be home I got there to find them sitting together, Number One holding a "ShamWow" that an older kid had in his car to Number Two's face. Luckily ski season is over so we got into see the doctor relatively quickly, the women ahead of us in Triage even offered to let us go first. After Natasha Richardson's death I know we are all way more careful about falls. So the helmet was a write off and he was home for a couple of days while the swelling went down and he stopped looking like something from the "Planet of the Apes."
But the week ended with the weather finally getting more spring-like and the most perfect day on Friday which just so happened to be my 43rd bday! I got the boys off to school, Number Two was more embarrassed at the scabs than still hurt but he went and I got to ride Jazz with three friends for almost three hours. I even got a bit sunburned. Oh happy day!
Later my in-laws arrived with our 16 year old niece who is having a tough time at home but is always happy to stay with us and hang out with the boys. Hard to reconcile the horror stories about her with the girl who loves to play Wii and do crafts with her much younger cousins. So I was free to get ready for my surprise. My friend and neighbour decided it was the perfect afternoon to sit on her deck and have a cold beer, first of the season. The kids decided that since the pool was open they would get their suits on and jump in. Big surprise for them - it was 42 F! But the hot tub was also open and close by. We had a ball watching their faces as they emerged from the water and reminded them to "keep breathing" when they insisted on swimming from one end to the other. Boys.
My Other Half told me I was to be ready by 6:30pm and then we headed out stopping at two local pubs to see who was staking out the patio - no one we knew so we headed to my Dad's where we were supposed to pick something up. Now I don't always expect a surprise on my birthday. Oh hell, yes I do and my Other Half has almost never disappoints me. He says he loves doing it, sometimes it is a night in the city or dinner at a great restaurant and sometimes is is a home cooked meal with a few of my nearest and dearest who had spent all week lying to me about their plans for Friday night. They are very good liars because, of course, I am always on the lookout for clues to my surprise. We had a great dinner, everyone helped out. As my Other Half said in his toast to them, "In the city when you invite people they wonder, Are you paying? Up here they ask, What can we bring?" Not entirely true but they all brought something yummy and lots to drink.
Now at age 43 I really no longer expect gifts (but I am always hopeful) and these friends know me too well and put such thought into the ones they chose.
- a bag of horsey-themed stuff which I love because it reminds me that after 30 years I once again have a horse of my own
- a homemade CD of songs from my teenage years, Bruce Springsteen, The Police and The Talking Heads, just to name a few. They all made me feel 16 again
- a book about Algonquin Park where our cottage is and my most favourite place on Earth
- a very sophisticated and grown up ice bucket with a bottle of Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine and my new drink of choice
- an iPod Shuffle (I know, I have very generous friends), bright pink so the boys won't steal it, to load up with the above mentioned songs to get me up and moving after a long winter of doing nothing
- a gorgeous necklace that is so simple and elegant that I can wear it every day and when I get dressed up
- and from my boys, they all went to the Tack Shop and picked out a new saddle pad and girth for Jazz, summer riding gloves and a little horse figurine that reminded them of pictures they had seen of Fire, my horse from when I was a kid
What more could a woman ask for? A husband who loves and keeps surprising me, kids who are excited about my rekindled passion and friends who are thoughtful and generous and don't laugh at how bad I am at playing pool. It was a glorious day and a very late night, one that I will remember when day to day existence takes back over.
High Table at Magdalen College, Oxford University - Magdalen is my favorite college at Oxford University. The name is pronounced "Maudlin," and the grounds are open to visitors for a fee. It's especially b...