If you have the chance, I highly recommend finding a copy of A Good Day by Kevin Henkes at your local library. It's a children's book, yes, but it's got a great message.
This gratitude thing is quite catchy. I suggest you try it. I made a resolution of sorts on Thanksgiving to be more grateful for the people and things in my life, and to be better at showing my gratitude. It's funny how quickly you can get into the habit of something like this. Yesterday morning, while walking my husband to work with the girl and the dog, I kept noticing things. I noticed the wonderful fall smell, I noticed how pretty our street looks strewn with leaves from the storm the night before, I noticed how warm and inviting the houses look with their autumn wreaths and pumpkin displays. And I found myself grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy a family walk first thing in the morning, to have time to chat with J about nothing of importance and enjoy just being out in the fresh air with the people I love. I've always been a sucker for mornings.
Today is my birthday. For some reason this year I haven't wanted to make a big deal about it. I managed not to tell anyone at all that it was my birthday...until it slipped out last evening while talking to a neighbour. This year I want my birthday to be more about celebrating the people who are important to me. After all, all I did to deserve a birthday was get born. Seems to me that we should be celebrating my parents for that instead of me, no? Oh, how your perspective changes once you have a child. Anyhow, I don't feel like getting a sitter and making reservations at some Zagat-rated hotspot this year. I did it last year and it was, admittedly, an outstanding evening. But this year I want to hang out with my family and focus on them instead of an extensive wine list or an extravagantly prepared chef's menu.
So we're going to Sam's. Sam's is a place in Brooklyn that I have walked by a hundred times. Oddly, I often walk by on a Tuesday - the one day they're closed - and this has made me wonder if they are still open at all these days. They've been around for 80 years or so and my neighbours assure me that they serve the best pizza in Brooklyn, along with a pretty superb hoagie. Apparently they also love kids and make a big deal over babies. The last thing I want today is to feel bad as soon as I walk in with a stroller, so this place sounds perfect. Not to mention that if you ask E what she wants for dinner any day of the week, she will - 99% of the time - say PIZZA! I figure we can't go wrong here.
Before dinner J has some kind of pampering-related surprise for me, which I am very excited about. And it has already been a stellar day. I almost decided to skip my birthday all together when I heard E calling out "All done! Hey, mama! All done!" at 5:49am. By some divine birthday fairy miracle though, I brought her into bed and we slept until dada woke us up at 8:30 with breakfast in bed. (Those oatmeal carrot peach muffins I made last night came in handy for him!) Then E and I dressed up all pretty and went into the city for a trip to Tiffany's. My in-laws had purchased a beautiful bracelet for me and sent me to pick it up. What fun! I got to go up to the 6th floor, where the personal shoppers are, and pretend to be snooty. E was excessively charming. People were smitten. I was very proud.
I have been serenaded once by my husband and twice by my daughter. I have eaten a shamefully large piece of homemade chocolate cake. I have a sleeping baby and something sparkly on my wrist. I have received tons of messages, emails and a couple of phone calls to wish me a happy day. And the rest of the day is only going to get better. I should do this every year!
p.s. Happy Birthday to my wonderful brother, Hillary! I love sharing this day with you.