I woke early this morning to dark gray skies, rolling thunder, steady rain. After making a cup of tea, I settled in on the couch with my anxious dogs to watch the weather from my window, reflecting on a heartwarming week of celebration.
I turned 40 yesterday. In the morning, I made pancakes to share with Gus, who loves them more than anything, eating the first batch that never browns properly and a big final pancake made with the leftover batter. After, I went for a walk at my usual lake, enjoying the 65-degree temperature and the breeze. There’s only one way in and out of the area, and the first lot was filled with motorcycles and their riders, people in MCs and police officers, all gathered together, though the police had their own section toward the front. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I tried to exit the park, only to be prevented from leaving as the police led the bikers out of the lot to the road, where they were followed by a lumbering convoy of historic military vehicles crossing the toll bridge. This morning I learned that the convoy is honoring a trek made 100 years ago by the U.S. Army across the country to emphasize the need for paved roads to improve national security. With no choice but to wait as it passed, I enjoyed the personal parade.
I spent the afternoon at my parents’ house, where my sister and nieces came to visit with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. My mom made my favorite things for dinner and surprised me with little pecan tartlets that I love. They’re a pain to make, I know, so I loved them all the more.
Alvaro and I celebrated earlier in the week on his days off from work. He brought flowers, martini picks I’ve been wanting, chocolates and tiramisu. We went to dinner at my favorite restaurant before going home to “turn back into pumpkins,” as Alvaro says, getting into pajamas for a night of TV. Before that celebration was an even earlier celebration with H, a friend whose birthday is also in August. She gave me a beautiful preserved butterfly wing pendant from a conservation organization to help me better appreciate orange as the color of MS awareness.
My friend C has the same birthday I do, a surprise discovered early in our friendship. I wanted to make her a birthday cake, but it needed to be vegan and gluten-free. I’ve made vegan desserts or gluten-free desserts before, but I’ve never done both at once, so I learned how to make a decent vegan lemon curd and vanilla cake, putting the layers together with whipped coconut cream and raspberries. I brought it to our women’s discussion group on Saturday, nervous about it possibly tasting like sawdust, so we tried a piece before everyone else arrived. To my great relief, it tasted like. . . normal cake. Victory!
I’ve always loved making birthdays special for others, though I used to resist people celebrating mine. Now, however, I lean into it. When people want to show their love, I let them. I welcome them, appreciate them, and as I pass the 40-year mark, I’m still savoring the sweetness of it all.