Years ago, before kids, when time was our own and so was the money, we created The Birthday Extravaganza Weekend (or week, depending on how the bank account was). We went out to dinner, we went to shows, we went shopping, we spent a weekend at the coast. We did what we wanted and didn't pay too much attention to the details...
But change is inevitable... and change is good.
And now, a story in which I look like a selfish child (and I was, for a bit on this day)...
Friday was my birthday. It hadn't quite dawned and the evil cat was up to his chirping, scratching, and general PIA tricks. Immediately I thought, "It's my birthday. Certainly The Butcher will jump up and toss this stinkin cat in the laundry room (latch problem solved, by the way) so I can sleep in a bit."
But The Butcher didn't move... or make any noise, by the way, so my next thought was "Great, my husband has died on the morning of my birthday," only to be greeted by the softest of snores escaping from his mouth. And the evil cat continued his antics.
So then I thought, "Wait a minute... I went to bed before The Butcher did last night and he certainly can't really be sleeping through this cat's noise, so maybe he left me a gift downstairs and he's pretending to be asleep so I'll find it." There's nothing quite like thinking there's something good waiting for you to get you out of bed. I grabbed the cat and we started down the stairs.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I scanned the kitchen. Nothing on the table. Nothing on the island. But wait! It looked like there was a box placed next to the coffee maker! How brilliant of The Butcher! He knew that's where I would head first. And as conflicting thoughts ran through my head (a small box! Wait, we can't afford things in small boxes!), I made my way to the coffee maker to discover it was not a small box. It was a small sponge Abby had left out from her science fair project... sigh...
And then I felt sorry for myself... enter the selfish child.
Because as each person woke up that morning, they brought me an offering... nothing huge and extravagant, but heart felt...
Wren drew a picture of me blowing out candles on a cake and woke up early to slip into Ella's room for help with a bracelet.
Ella made me a card and wrapped one of her hard-earned dollars in toilet paper, placing it in a small box and then wrapping it with a picture she'd painted. (And later, she asked for the box back... and a little later, she asked for the dollar back...sigh.)
And Abby made me a card too, declaring in it that I "work too hard."
And The Butcher handed me a card with a promise for dinner at a restaurant I've been wanting to go to.
But it wasn't just these things that were Birthday gifts to me. My weekend was filled with small moments, and if I just looked at them for what they really were, I could see that they were all gifts...
On Friday night, we went out to dinner with the girls... a rare treat. And not only was that a gift, but so was the fact that there was no sister fighting or complaining, or 18 trips to the toilet with Wren.
And then when I was tucking Wren into bed, she asked what she always asks, "What's tomorrow?" So I explained that Aunt Caryl and Aunt Cheryl were coming for dinner and cake. Wren asked, "What kind of cake?"
"Plum Pretty Cake - like Daddy makes me every year."
"What's Plum Pretty Cake?"
"It's red with a yummy frosting. My Granny Bert used to make it. I love it. And you will, too," I answered.
"Granny Bert? Who's Granny Bert?," Wren asked.
"She was Grandpa's mommy. Her name was Bertha, but people called her Bert, so we called her Granny Bert."
"Oh, so 'Bertha' is a lot like 'birthday' and that's why you have the Plum Pretty Cake?"
Wow... how, in 14 years of The Butcher making me this cake for my birthday, did I not see what my five year old saw? And my eyes welled up... what a wonderful gift she had given me without even knowing it. And while I have always thought of my Granny Bert when the cake is made, now it's even more special to me.
The gifts continued with a full weekend of sun... SUN!
And a great dinner with great friends...
And awesome, powerful Easter worship at church... with tears in my eyes.
And playing in the dirt with The Butcher as we "surveyed the land" and got dirty and finally declared it Miller (Lite) Time so I could sneak in a tiny nap before a wonderful, memory-invoking dinner of leg of lamb, potatoes, and spinach (just like mom's!).
I am truly blessed... thank you for everything on my Birthday.
Granny Bert's Plum Pretty Cake