The aerobics class for geezers starts at 8:00, and as I headed out the door at 7:50 this morning, down the porch steps and around to the driver’s side of my car, I congratulated myself that I would actually arrive on time.
I saw immediately that the tire that looked sort of low yesterday when I got back from church was well and truly flat, so back into the house I went, and just as I asked hubby which of the other two cars I should take, the phone rings, and it is my father.
Happy birthday to you…” he begins to sing…
My dad has a baritone voice, and so naturally, he begins to sing the familiar melody in a funny, high falsetto. Which makes me laugh. I love this man so much.
We talk briefly, and I head down the stairs again, and manage to arrive at aerobics only a few minutes late. At the conclusion of the class, I see as wasp crawling groggily on the floor. The insect has managed not to be stepped on by any of us as we lurch around doing the grapevine and side-step kicks, and so I rescue it using a Styrofoam cup and a piece of paper towel and let it go out the back door.
When I arrive back at the house, I grab my wallet in my left hand, and the keys, the cup, and the paper towel in my right hand, and as I pass the trash can, I throw in everything in that hand. Then, just before I reach the steps up to the second story, I realize that I am no longer carrying the car keys, so I go back to the trash can and find them. It occurs to me that if I had not immediately remembered--remembered right then--that I had thrown them in the trash, how long would we have had to search for them before I would have remembered? I shudder to think about it.
I am now officially 62 years old. Yes indeed. Welcome to the new normal.
Richard tells me my brother called while I was gone, and he will call back later. We leave the house for about 20 minutes to get our flu shots and pick up the mail at the post office.
Not too long after we return home, the phone rings again. It is my sister. She has arrived at work, and once again I hear Happy Birthday, this time in a lovely alto voice.
As we chat on the phone, I open the package from her that we have just picked up from the post office and the birthday cards that have arrived. We chat briefly and go about our respective jobs.
About a half-hour later, my brother calls. I hear Happy Birthday for the third time. I used to think my brother was tone deaf, but as I listen to him sing the song, I realize that he is not tone deaf after all. He has written a funny message in the birthday card he sent me, and we laugh together about it.
The day for me is now winding down, but it is two hours earlier in California and a few minutes ago, the phone rings and it is my other brother. He is taking a walk on his lunch break, and is climbing a rather steep hill. He does not sing to me, but I have a pleasant conversation with him and he hangs up.
And before the day draws to a close, I receive yet another phone call.. This one from my brother's wife. She too sings "Happy Birthday", but a different version. This time its the "Put another candle on my birthday cake" version that we both watched Sheriff John sing on TV when we were kids..
I appreciate so much the gifts I have been given. I am grateful of course, for the material things I have received – Victoria's Secret Amber Romance bath products; some clothes, some money. I remember with joy how much fun our mother had at birthdays, preparing a favorite food and making the day fun; I remember with joy the wonderful birthday present our son gave me a few years ago. The chief of the volunteer fire department he belonged to had his own plane, and Nathaniel bought me a 30-minute ride over the Ozarks countryside, and while this area is not exactly a tourist destination for viewing fall foliage, the patchwork of browns, bronze, gold, and an occasional blaze of red and orange, was quite lovely…
But I think what I am most grateful and thankful for are the intangible blessings that come from being part of a good family -- blessings that one can't put a price tag on. Blessings that are indeed priceless.
My family. I am truly blessed.