Well, you know, one basic way to stay alive is to keep having more birthdays. So I had one yesterday. It's a fun survival strategy.
Actually, we did so much celebrating over the weekend, you'd think I'd have advanced two years instead of one. But I'm "only" 39. If you're a lot older, you might think I'm "just a baby". If you are a lot younger, you might think I'm middle-aged (I WISH!!). If you're my age, you might be amazed at how we got here so fast and so easily. If you have cancer like me, you may just want have as many birthdays as possible, so age is just a number. When Mary Kay Ash died (founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics - the best company my husband has ever worked for, so buy lots of their stuff!!!), none of the obituary reports contained her age, because she never let anyone know it. It was just a number, and what mattered more was all the good that she did with the time she was allotted.
The big 4-0 is next year, and while some people are traumatized by "milestone" birthdays, turning forty would mean that I had beaten my prognosis and then some. So I am eager for that milestone birthday. My dad gave me a hug and wished me happy birthday and said, "May you stay 39 the rest of your life," but I laughed and said there was an awful way for that wish to literally come true, so I'd rather let those numbers keep (s..l..o..w..l..y...) passing by! Someone at my church is turning 89 this week, and I am SO jealous!!!
We celebrated with 39 hours of festivities over the weekend, preceded by a gorgeous bouquet of roses from a dear friend. Our festivities started late Friday afternoon with the adoption of Chip, a 3-year-old beagle with an adorable personality. He is a wonderful little brother for our 14-year-old dog Buster (who is also outliving his prognosis). Together they remind me of the power of one's "inner beagle". After we brought Chip home and introduced him to his new surroundings, we headed off for dinner. My husband, Jared, found a restaurant nearby that does family-friendly karaoke every Friday night, and we had a really fun party there!
On Saturday morning Jared and I spent some time at the temple, then hit some garage sales (garage sale-ing is about as big as high school football here in North Texas), and returned home in time to go with my brother and my mom to the local antique mall (to look for 39-year-old stuff). We shopped and lunched at my favorite lunch spot (I crave Potbelly's "skinny" turkey sandwich like a pregnant woman: on wheat, no cheese, just a little mayo, lettuce, and tomato), and then we headed back home to watch my favorite movie of all time: Gone With the Wind (released in 19...39). After all, "Tomorrow is another day!" (Or so we all hope!!!) Later that evening we had a family party at my favorite steak place, and then I had to scramble to get a workout in before going to bed. (I still have a policy of exercising on the days when I eat.)
We attended church on Sunday, where my son sang with the other Primary children, and he did a charming job. We had a nice dinner at home courtesy of Chef Jared, with lots of family around, and then it was time for birthday cake and a big pile of gifts.
Of course, this was all pre-birthday priming. Yesterday morning I awakened to breakfast in bed, adorned with a rose in a leaded crystal vase, and birthday cards (including a cute one where my son hand-scrawled, "I super love you Mom love Jacob Oakes".)
We then had another beagle miracle moment. We discovered that Chip had "chipped" his way through our fence during the night, and had vanished. Our initial search that morning was in vain. My son and I said a little prayer for Chip's safe return, and I had a feeling of reassurance that it would happen. And sure enough, it wasn't long afterward that we got a phone call from someone whose daughter had found Chip far across town and near a very busy intersection. After some effort they were able to trace him to us via his rabies tag number, and from their account of the morning, this was all happening while my son was saying his little prayer.
My birthday topped off with a family lunch date (Potbelly's again) and dinner at a grown-up dinner & games place (where I considered every game a good neuro test), and then we came home to lots of voice mail and email greetings.
I think if I count up all the activities, gifts, beagle miracles, and greetings, it adds up to 39 steps to turning 39. Not Hitchcock's 39 Steps, but a fun and very non-scary string of celebrations as the odometer of life clicks off another number. Each day is a gift and a miracle in so many ways, and I have been blessed to receive over fourteen thousand of them. And I got another one today!