I’m not normally prone to bouts of self-pity. Yes, I have bad days like everyone else. Sure, I get frustrated and overwhelmed and lose my temper from time to time. (OK, a lot of the time.)
But I don’t see this as particularly unusual, and thus I try not to wallow. If my day was lousy, someone else’s was worse. I try to keep some perspective: My parents are healthy, my kids are healthy, we have food in the fridge and a roof over our heads. Things could be better, always, but they could also be so much worse.
Still, I must admit that as I found myself ringing in my birthday by stripping vomit-soaked sheets (and pillows and blankets and stuffed animals) off of Georgia’s bed in the wee hours of Monday morning, I did find myself ironically singing, “Happy birthday to me” and feeling monumentally sorry for myself.
Gone were any plans of going out for a special birthday lunch with my husband or celebrating over drinks with my friends. All I had to look forward to was a long day home with a sick kid, maybe with a special bonus of my very own illness to look forward to before the week was over.
I stayed up most of the night, watching over Georgia, and got up at 6 to help Ruby finish her homework and get ready for school. It was definitely not a luxurious, leisurely start to “my special day,” and when I looked in the mirror while brushing my teeth, I looked tired, stressed and old, which is not really what you want to feel when you’re already lamenting being in the last year of your 30s.
But now, as my birthday is drawing to a close, I feel some perspective returning.
My kid being sick makes me grateful for her typical good health. Not being able to celebrate with coworkers and friends is a bummer, but I’m so lucky to have them to celebrate with at all, even if it’s not on my actual birthday. Turning 39 is kind of sobering, but I am still alive and healthy. My parents and my in-laws are all here with me, and I am grateful to be able to honestly say I genuinely enjoy all of their company. And my husband made up for not being able to have a lunch out together by making me one of my favorite meals that we ate together on the couch while Georgia had some chicken noodle soup from her room-based quarantine.
Was it the birthday I wanted? The best birthday I’ve ever had? Absolutely not. But sometimes it takes something like this to remind you just how good a normal day can be.
As I turn another year old, I am so thankful for the life I have – and so thankful to everyone who is sharing this journey with me.
Happy birthday to me – non-ironically this time.