I have glimpses of my second birthday party in my memory.  I remember sitting at Grandma’s table on a booster stool, staring at a beautiful carousel birthday cake of red and white icing with miniature molded sugar animals all around.  I remember Baby First Step in her sweet little dress.  And I remember throwing up everywhere.  Hence, the foreshadowing of birthdays to come.
I recall a Snow White birthday celebration at Grandma’s a few years later that left me sick on the couch – again, at the hands of those damned molded sugar cake toppers.    
After that, most of the birthdays were a blur… there was a Winnie-the-Pooh themed party with Pin-the-Tail-on-Eeyore, assorted slumber parties with secret midnight séances, a surprise 16th with my teen group at church, and a surprise 35th, originated by Mr. N/A, but largely organized by my best friend – I hated that birthday.
I don’t have any other birthday memories from my marriage to Mr. N/A.  I couldn’t tell you how we celebrated or name one single birthday gift from him (no kidding).  I received them – I just don’t remember them.  Interesting.
Some years I have high expectations and disappointing results.  Other years, I expect nothing, and I’m overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness of my friends and loved ones.  This year was a mixed bag, but the good parts were enough to override the rest.  
I woke up alone and received a surprising text first thing in the morning.  That started things off with a smile.  I picked up the kids at their father’s house, and we had an exceptional day together, shopping and lunching and cupcake-eating and movie-watching.  I upgraded my iPhone in a crowded Apple store, thanks to the extreme generosity of Mr. Nice Guy (who hasn’t forgotten my birthday in 26 years), and I impulsively bought myself the cutest little dusty pink miniature purse fit for a princess that caught my eye in the window of Brighton.  I am delighted.  
The kids gave me very thoughtful gifts and cards; the mailbox and my Facebook page held other assorted greetings from the peanut gallery.   

It was a good day, and I’m relieved to mark another one off the books.  If I had only known decades ago that I would be running marathons and attempting to qualify for Boston at the end of my forties, maybe I wouldn’t have spent so many sad years feeling like my life was doomed to mostly forgettable birthdays and misery.  
I wonder what’s next? 

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