This is what 41 looks like.
Not for everyone, but for me.
It's odd to think that I've now, as a friend pointed out, had two birthdays in Colorado.
And I've never been so glad to be in a place in my life.
Both geographically and spiritually.
I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.
Both physically and emotionally.
The celebrating started over a week ago, when my dad, who's always elk hunting on my birthday, took me to a jazz concert at Stargazers.
Heaven, that was.
Live music? Yes please.
It really doesn't matter what kind, but there is just something about jazz...
I heard from my brother a few minutes ago, and he and my dad both got an elk this year. That's birthday gift enough for me, although my brother was kind enough to send a card, too. With a penny in it. That was his way of responding to my request for him to "just send cash."
My mom's birthday was a few days ago, so my boys and I went and spent some time with her over the weekend.
My boys, of course, had surprises for me.
The best from the elder - a note in my lunch today (he made lunches last night) that said, "Have a good day!" It was a totally spontaneous act of love. The best kind.
And from the younger - a handmade "Big hug."
When I commented on its large size he responded, "Of course it's huge. It was a big project."
And then my friend Kim Myles, interior designer extraordinaire, posted a picture of my dresser on Facebook today.
A few of my students brought me gifts today. A bouquet (um, the colors! Love!) and - oh happy day - an apple. Many of them were stunned when I told them my age. I don't know why...when I was their age 40 seemed ancient. One girl asked me what kind of lotion I used so she could go buy some. She's ten! Haha!
And of course there have been more phone calls and texts and Facebook messages than I think I can handle! My mom gave me some $ (an obscene amount, really) and even my favorite aunt stuck a $20 in the card she sent me, which I think is hilarious but just might be the reason she's my favorite aunt. *wink*
Last year on my birthday I had just arrived in Colorado.
Had just made tremendous changes in my life.
I went for a 6 mile hike, solo, because it was exactly what I wanted to do and there was no one to stop me. And I had a wonderful time.
This year, however, I'm feeling quite the opposite, so I'm celebrating with friends.
Next Saturday a slew of old friends, mostly from the "school" walk of life, will celebrate with me.
A high school English teacher.
A friend from 8th grade.
A girlfriend I grew up with (who I have a picture of at my 9th (or so) birthday party).
Two college roommates. We all went to school in Minnesota together. One is from CO but has been in Minnesota for the last 20ish years and moved back a few months ago; the other is from Minnesota but moved out here after college. She's spent the last 5 years in Brazil, and also just moved back a few months ago.
We won't do much. Just dinner and drinks. And hopefully more laughter than we'll know what to do with.
So the party will continue long after today.
I cannot end this post without letting the world know what the card said that my mom bought me. I love it.
"Even before she arrives, you want your daughter's world to be perfect.
You want her to be happy and surrounded by love.
You want her to be sure of herself, gentle but strong, with nothing to worry about.
But real life's not like that.
The years come and go, bringing her trials and triumphs, joys and sorrows.
And you still want her world to be perfect.
But you can see that she is sure of herself, surrounded by love, and gentle but strong.
And you can see that she is who she is
because life has challenged her to grow and become more amazing every year."
Thanks, Mom. It's true.
Life's a party.