I am completely unashamed to say: I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY! I don’t care about getting older nor do I mind if friends or family forget… it is my very own day and every year I want to make the most of it. I see who I want to see and do what I want to do – and if one day isn’t enough it can easily extend to the whole week! 😉 I simply can’t imagine a better birthdate than 16th July and TODAY it is here!
It was a good start to the day: Martin brought me my pint of morning tea – as usual, I have to say! – and told me it was 7.20am. Time was of the essence with an early start expected today so I’d have to stir myself and get up… However, I wasn’t best pleased when, managing to throw off the covers and cross the bedroom, I could actually decipher the digits on the clock: it was only 6.38am! My ever-loving husband – being a cheeky, ‘morning person’ himself – had given me “the time in Bretagne”: he said I could have “the extra hour of birthday” as a special present! This obviously called for another pint of tea and quick return to the duvet! But it was lovely to have him around for a while for coffee and opening cards before heading off to work.
My real BIG birthday present is something I’ve been waiting for for about 3 years… over the next 2-3 weeks we’re having a new bathroom fitted! It may seem a bit mad to have workmen with sledge-hammers arriving at 8.30am to take the house apart today of all days, but I am really pleased and excited: the fact our builder wanted to start work on Monday 16th simply underlines the sheer gift of finally being able to get this done. After putting it off twice – necessarily spending the money on other things – we’ve recently firmly decided we’ll be staying in this house for another 3 years… so it simply must be done and at least we’ll have time to enjoy it (and pay for it!) for the foreseeable future 🙂 Anyway, the old shower keeps falling on my head, which is absolutely the last straw – just like when the fridge door fell off and we had to buy a new kitchen… and when the car ran out of petrol so we bought a new car (no – that last one – not really!!)
I am happy: I have been feeling happy for the last few days – content, at peace, hopeful; the rise of joy is actually quite wonderful after so many months of anxiety and stress. It just feels as if everything is in it’s right place – as the song says, ‘the sun’s shining down on me, the world’s all as it should be…’ The sun isn’t shining – after a lovely Sunday in the garden yesterday it’s actually daring to tip with rain on 16th July! – but that’s not what the song means: it means the days when the blessing is apparent in our lives. Yes, we have had to walk through the opposite in the last few years, ‘on the road marked with suffering when there’s pain in the offering’, but by God’s grace – and even when it has been hard – we have still found it possible to say “Blessed be Your Name” and find a loving Father’s comfort. We know those dark days, or others like them, may well come again and sooner than we wish – but for now we are rejoicing in some relief and normality… And so my birthday has come at a good time and I am marking it well: 55 – double grace that has got us this far and will see us to the end.
As yesterday was the best day weather-wise we have had since getting back from France last weekend we formally invited Sam round for a barbecue. Amazing to think this time last year we had just celebrated Jessa’s 21st in similar fashion… Much of last year’s crop has gone into the ground, but one of the things that has come up is that Sam is now independent in his own house, which is unlikely to have happened without Jess being in the frame at the time…. We hardly see him for more than quick visits these days – in fact he complains about it sometimes, “come over and see me, Mum!” And I say, “you come over and see us!”
Becca also made a pre-birthday visit home this week and kindly kept her brother occupied playing ‘Zombies’ for hours on end! To my great joy, both our kids seem to have hit a good patch at the same time. Health is stable (all quiet on the tumour front and do not disturb until November’s scan results), there seems to be enough money coming in (thank you, benefits office), nothing has broken recently (except our coffee grinder!), Sam had fun housesitting (with his friend Dean) both home and abroad, while we were away on our holiday and both their social lives are going along well – Becca loves her little flat and digging her shared allotment and Sam is really looking forward to the new Batman film coming out! As I say, it’s a relief, a breathing space, life is more as it should be perhaps – though no doubt that ‘should be’ is a western fallacy and an expectation of the modern age, a gift not a right… Meanwhile, I am just grateful, counting my many blessings, not trusting in them, but recognising the sheer unmerited favour of life to the full and letting myself experience trouble-free waters for a change. Thank You, God.
So – a day of banging and crashing upstairs and the modernising alterations underway, a gathering of friends to look forward to tonight and hours to catch up with my best girlfriend over lunch in our favourite local. I’ve had so many lovely cards and texts… and of course, facebook was made for days like this! I joined exactly 3 years ago on my birthday and have loved the on-line party ever since, so today I am definitely allowed to keep checking the screen and enjoying a mounting flow of good wishes from all and sundry – thanks, fb friends, I can feel the love!