Five Random Thoughts About My Birthday


My mom, Leone in her birthday suit, and me. Photo courtesy of Christopher Briscoe.

My mom, Leone in her birthday suit, and me. Photo courtesy of Christopher Briscoe.

I went back to work after the kids went to bed last night and then James and I stayed up … talking (since Mothering is a family magazine, let’s just say we were talking.) Leone woke to nurse around 5:00 a.m. As the sky is turning from pink to blue everyone in the house is still quietly asleep except me. If these thoughts are a bit jumbled and typos abound, you know why.

I have birthdays on the brain, maybe because our oldest turned eleven two weeks ago and today is my birthday.

This is what I’ve been thinking about:

1. Birthday Giving: Inspired my Project Happily Ever After’s I’m Donating My Birthday to Charity (I still can’t read this post without crying), I biked to the post office yesterday, mailed two little white envelopes with checks in them, and gave myself the best birthday present I’ve ever received. Thank you to Alisa Bowman for the inspiration. Athena had the idea before any of us but somehow, after working for several years in non-profit and seeing firsthand how money can be (mis)spent, I started to get cynical about donating to charity. Still, helping someone in need directly—or donating to local non-profits with little or no overhead costs—feels so right. (Our two favorite Oregon charities are FRIENDS OF TREES in Portland and WILDLIFE IMAGES in Grants Pass.) I’m excited that we are starting a family tradition of birthday giving.

2. Once you pass 40 it’s time to start counting backwards: which makes me 39 this year. Next year I’ll be 38. Move over Zora Neale Hurston (she always used to lie about her age), I’m getting younger by the minute.

3. All that selflessness is fine and everything (see #1) but what I really want for my birthday is a clean house, scrubbed top to bottom. Only, in our house three minutes after it’s clean someone spills celery soup on the floor (me), decides to investigate how fountain pens work (Etani), gets creative with scissors and paper and leaves the scraps everywhere (Athena), decides to home roast some green coffee beans and makes a fifth cup of coffee, leaving the French press in the sink and the dirty coffee cup on the counter or in the bathroom (James), or poops on the carpet (Leone). Notice Hesperus is absent from this list. She’s the only one in our family who is truly tidy. I guess I’ll have a clean house when … I go visit hers when she’s a grown-up.

4. It’s fun to bake your own cake. Maybe carrot cake this year? Or spice cake? Not death-by-chocolate tort (that one takes three hours). German chocolate? Lemon?

5. An excuse to be outside: I’m going to try to stay off the Internet today and we’re planning a family hike up Grizzly Peak after work this afternoon. If I can’t have a clean house (#3) at least I can get out of it!

How do you like to celebrate your birthday? What was your best birthday ever?

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