Sunday, November 13, 2011

A great place to be...

This morning, I am still taken back by the beautifully touching birthday my family planned for me this year. Not only was it 11/11/11 but it was also a birthday for which I was more aware of how grateful I was for having it, being here and having the opportunity to embrace a healthier, more full life going forward. Since my heart attack...few moments seem to escape me as I am hell bent on seeing them, living them, embracing them and making them. Before I arrived in that hopeful emotional place, I struggled trying to figure out why, what for and why me! I am glad I am no longer in that place. I am thankful for my patient and loving family who helped me work through my fears, struggles, stresses and emotions during that time. I have the greatest friends and family who have continually been checking in on me to keep me close, and show me their love, support and encouragement. My mother was home with me for two weeks, and barely left my side ensuring that things were easier for me, seamless, on track and adaptable before she could even leave to go back home, and even then had a hard time doing it.  She is such a rock, and she always steps in when I really need her to make sure I can again be my own rock before she will leave my side. 

This year...I had the most beautiful and touching birthday I have ever had in my entire life! First...my Mom gave me a Pandora bracelet with charms that She, Tara, Beth, Todd, Emily, Molly, and Ron had a part in picking out. My Mom gave me a heart charm (that she actually got BEFORE my heart attack) that has two hearts on it. She said the bigger heart was hers, and the small heart inside was mine because my heart would forever be in hers. {tissues please).  She also gave me a charm with Braydens birthstones on it, one with my own birthstone, a guardian angel, and a snowman.  I will forever cherish this piece of jewelry as I continue to build a mini-life story on it of my experiences and life.  What a perfectly thoughtful gift.

I took Friday (bday) off of work to relax, take it easy, recoup after my first week back at work, and to enjoy this beautiful birthday my family had been planning for me.
So...my husband and family have been secretly planning my birthday for awhile now. Ron was making plans, then changing them, or making them just to keep me off track...but either way...they made my birthday so wonderfully beautiful this year I can hardly find words to describe how happy this day made my heart. That is a great place to be.

First thing in the morning, Brayden snuggled up to my back and reached his chubby little arm around my neck while patting my face as he sweetly said "you gotta wake up now Mommy, it's your birthday today".  I woke up with an instant smile on face, while feeling SO so grateful that I was being loved by this beautiful little guy that means the world to me!!!  That made my top moments in life list. So, we got up and moving since we knew that Todd, Beth and Emily and Molly were on the way over to deliver a homemade breakfast to my house!!!  They brought a healthy, low cholesterol Egg Beaters quiche over with toast, smart butter, and orange juice!!!  They quiche was DELICIOUS!!!  The girls even picked out snowflake plates and napkins for me since it was also the first snow of the season that day!  Everything was perfect, and special-especially my purple princess tiara they gave me to wear for the day!!! I loved enjoying the morning.  I loved watching Brayden play with everyone.  I loved that he was so happy too!  I loved that they thought of every little detail to make my morning that much more special.  They didn't miss a thing.  It was perfect.

Shortly after Todd and the girls left, Beth agreed to be my shopping buddy for the afternoon!  She awesomely took Brayden in her cart for the trip for me.  It was bliss shopping without having to concentrate on anything but shopping.  I haven't had the opportunity to do that in a long time, so it was very very nice.  Beth and I had so much fun digging for treasures at Mr. Salvages going out of business sale!!!  We stayed for quite a while.  Probably longer than most normal people...but you seriously have to DIG for the good stuff and that takes time!!!  I know this all sounds as fun as going gun shopping with a husband, but trust me...when everything is 75% off in the entire store...what could not be fun about that!!!  I spent $30 bucks and had tons of great things at the end of our excursion!  Not surprisingly...Beth had more than I did...and I say not surprisingly because every time I shop with Brayden, I tend to put more in the cart than I had planned too because its easier to just keep that cart moving to keep him happy and I take far much less time contemplating purchases.  Sorry Bether! 

After arriving back home later in the afternoon, it was time to just relax for awhile, play with my peanut who was oh so tolerant shopping all day, and just chill out.  Since the house was all clean, I got on facebook!  I was overwhelmed with the amount of friends and family that had wished me a Happy Birthday!  It was a sweet moment of amazement.  My Mom wrote a great post to me that I will never forget!  For years she has teased me because of my lucky birth numbers-and my lack of luck!!!  She has always questioned that irony and with every new un-lucky life event of mine...she tends to come back to wondering why I was born with such interesting birth statistics, and such a high storage of un-luck!  Well...she wrote all of these sweet comments about me and then wrote..."For years I wondered why you have been so unlucky,  but today it dawned on me that since the day you were born...I am the lucky one!".  What a beautiful thing to say to me!  I am so grateful to have a mother like her.  She is amazingly kind, smart and loving.  She is fiercely devoted to her family, and is one of those women who is full of genuine kindness and moxy!  She is a true lady! There isn't one quality about her that I don't adore. I am so so grateful. I have some of the very best friends and family out there. 

Soon, Ron got home from work, and we chatted about my day so far!  He acted pleased that I was having such a great day, but also like he knew all along what kind of day I was going to have long before it arrived!  I knew he had been scheming with my family for awhile now, but I really had NO idea how special this whole day would turn out!!!

Later, Ron's sister came over with my nephew, and my brother in law to see me on my birthday! Little Marion and Brayden had a "drum off" together, and Bray was following Marions every move on the drums (with his tongue out the entire time!). We watched Jeff Dunham and peanut (my fav comedian) and laughed in hysterics!!!  Brayden loves them too! They all gave me a gift certificate to Panache Salon to get pampered with a pedicure. Oh, how I can't wait to use that!

After they left, it was time to start getting ready for dinner.  Ron made dinner reservations at Forte' with Todd, Beth, Emily, Molly, and Brayden. We parked about a block away and as we were walking turning the corner onto 3rd street I was just enjoying taking in the snow touched town all lit up with Christmas lights when out of nowhere Kyle Gustafson (friend of the family who is a great musician) was at the top of the parking ramp playing Happy Birthday on his trumpet for me! My family turned around to look at me and their smiles were beautiful. They were giggling, clapping, hugging me as I smiled, giggled and cried...then cheers ensued. People passing by stopped in their tracks to listen. The trumpet was crisp and spot on tune and the sound just echoed off of the buildings. It was beautiful.  Every sense I have was working to take in this moment.  The smell of the crisp cold air, seeing the emotions on my families faces, hearing the trumpet play, and hugging people I love with all of my heart...it was an amazing and {poorly defined by words} feeling. I was totally serenaded with love.  What a great place to be!
Just when I thought the night was almost over...we walked into Forte.  What a great restaurant.  The smell was tempting, the lighting and atmosphere was intimate, and our table was private and in the perfect spot in the restaurant.  Not to mention that I knew the food there was DELICIOUS!!! The anticipation was killing me...I was starving. We begged Kyle to stay and have dinner with us and thankfully he happily obliged. We all talked, giggled, and just enjoyed each other. It felt warm. Todd, Beth and the girls then showed me what they had been up too this afternoon while Beth and I were on our bargain sabbatical!  They had all driven up to Chautauqua Institution to video tape the bell tower (my favorite place) ringing at exactly 1:00pm...my birth time. Right after the one tone for 1:00, the gloomy sky at the beginning of the video amazingly lit up with sunshine. It could not have been more perfect. I loved how thoughtful that video and the planning of doing that for me was! I was awestruck. It gave me goosebumps.  It made me teary. I loved it.  At that point in the night, I sat back quietly observing my family sitting around me.  I was taking mental pictures in my head so I would never forget this night, this feeling, and this moment.  I am so blessed.  I am so happy I have the family I have, the friends I have and the life I have.  It was again...perfect. Soon we got our bills and when my brother looked at his Forte bill, the amount on the receipt was $117. 71 which was awesome because I was born 11/11/77 at 1:00 and weighed 7lbs, 7 oz. and on 11/11/11 that was very cool. After we all took pictures of the bill we all prepared to leave to go back to the house for cake!

As they arrived at the house, they came in with arms full of gifts, gift bags, and energy!  Right when I thought the night was over...there were more surprises coming!  I could not believe it! I was overwhelmed with the feeling that they devoted a whole day to my birthday, being with me, and showering me with more love than I could believe I deserved!!! Todd, Beth and the girls made me a beautiful cake with flowers on it. Just before they handed me the cake, they gave me a lotto ticket they got for me!!! Let's face it...some gambling had to take place on this day with those birth numbers!!! Beth made my cake with only the white of eggs for me, and they remembered that my favorite cake is funfetti too! They all didn't miss a thing. They sang happy birthday to me again, and Brayden helped Mommy blow out the 7 candles.  We all sat at the table and again I was able to watch my family around me having fun, smiling, loving each other and being together, with me!  I got to open all of my gifts, and was taken back by the thoughtfulness of how perfect each and every gift was that I was given.  I was humbled by the cards that I was given...the words within will forever resonate in my mind and in my heart.  What a gift those were in an of themselves.

Soon...Todd asked what time it was...and it was 11:11, so everyone sang Happy Birthday to me again! I could not help but feeling throughout the entire day that I was so lucky, so blessed, and so loved. We finished the night off by watching another hysterical comedian with lots of giggles,  laughter and smiles as we were all comfy and together in my own very living room.  I felt this way all day long.  That feeling of overwhelming appreciation and love for my life, my family, and my friends. I love those kinds of moments.  The kind that become memories etched in your heart forever!  The kind of moments that never escape your memory.  The kind that motivate the genuine gratefulness for life that sometimes slips by.  I am the luckiest woman alive! It made my home and heart feel perfect and... That is a great place to be.

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