When I married my husband, I also became a step-mother to twin boys. I’d like to think that I am nailing this “step-mom” stuff down, but let’s be honest… I waited until the age of 41 to become a legal ‘first time co-parent’ and every month presents lessons in growing into a role that I love, with two young men who have come to mean the world to me.
My husband celebrates his birthday on April 20th. The twins follow shortly after, and they celebrated their 11th birthday on April 24th. My birthday is May 1st, so within a ten-day window, we celebrate four Taurus birthdays. In the past two years we have focused on having one party for the four of us, but this year we decided that everyone deserved ‘their own day’ and we had separate celebrations.
And it was exhausting LOL! Next year, I think we’ll shift back to one party. It’s just easier. But the kids enjoyed their sleep over with their two youngest male cousins (no girls allowed, unless bearing popcorn). My husband enjoyed a wonderful little gathering at a sports restaurant (low carb chicken wings), and was so happy to share with our local crowd, including his Mom, step-father, Aunt and Uncle, and cousins. We had a nice cake, a few drinks and had an impromptu party for the man that said “no one ever celebrates my birthday”. Like a good dad, he’s been cool with sacrificing his ‘special day’ for the rug rats.
I like to keep my birthday quiet and simple. In the past, that’s usually meant going out with Diane for dinner, and I loved that. We gabbed, we noshed, we gabbed some more (mostly me), and we exchanged gifts. Diane is my real soul mate. We’ll probably end up outliving our husbands, and entering into a faux same-sex marriage for tax purposes in our 90’s.
This year my birthday fell on a Monday (bummer). And the weekend following was dedicated to a shower for a special young lady in the family, who is getting married in Oklahoma later this month. No way I was going to divert or steal her thunder; I love that young lady. So I figured Kevin and I would use the free offer from the World’s Largest Casino (WinStar) and taken advantage of two free buffets (score) and $100 free game play (thank you) and then head back to our respective offices after a nice brunch.
We did that. I scored a free birthday gift from the casino (a cooler bag), and our points also got us a country lemonade set in the rustic mason jar style. A tray, a carafe and four tall mason jar glasses. Cute! Hey… I like free stuff. Why I didn’t leave when I was up $480? Clearly I’m not as smart as I think I am. Or perhaps I was hoping for a $2500 win to redo the bathtub in our single washroom. That tub has got to go. It’s starting to depress me, and I need to get back to my ritualistic bath bomb routine asap. But my day started with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my husband, and gifts from him and the kids (one of which was a pro-camping hammock so I’ll be able to Zen in the back yard, under my favorite tree to write).
The only caveat about the hammock is that it has to be high up, and I can get INSIDE it… but not sure if I can get back out, without flipping myself and dumping on the hard ground below. Will have to work on my dismount. 😉
My Fraunt (friend/aunt) Janet was in my bridal party, and has remained a close and wonderful friend. She’s actually Kevin’s aunt and a her twin sister (Aunt Kaye) and Uncle Mike are very special to us. Kevin and Mike run the family insurance agency and have worked together for more than 17 years. Janet initiated dinner with her daughter Neely (who now lives in Arizona) to have a birthday dinner with Kevin and I. It was also great to see Neely and spend some time with her, before she headed back to Arizona.
From small plans grew a wonderful gathering at my favorite sushi place in Plano. They have a conveyor belt of different sushi items… need I say more? I guess it’s the fat kid in me that loves the idea of a conveyor belt of food whizzing by you, and you can grab what you like. *shrug* I also dig the Japanese cartoons that pop up, every five plates you return to the little slot at the end of the table.
Cool right? The sushi is also mucho yum.
The crowd that showed up included Garrett (Neely’s son), Kaye and Mike, Janet, and Kevin’s little cousin Mercedes. Now, squishing all of us into a booth? Yeah we were crammed and Janet and I had to hand off plates like a lightning round, but it was fun. I got to be squished against Neely, and I wasn’t complaining. Of all his cousins, she is the closest one to me in age, and I was devastated when she moved. Love her to bits and happy for her new life, and always glad to see and talk to her. She’s very cool.
I got emotional on the way to the restaurant. Here it was, a Monday night, and the night before Neely was leaving again for Arizona and THEY STILL made time for me. I got amazing thoughtful presents that touched my heart. And some laughs and catching up with some of my very favorite Texans before we called it a night. And I got lot’s of hugs. I like the hugging parts the most. I try to keep that on the down-low.
My in-laws couldn’t make it that night because my Daddy-in-law works a little later and it was a long drive to Plano. The next day Mom and Dad treated us to Red Lobster (hey, how come Kevin get’s treated, it’s not HIS birthday???) lol. It was delicious! I told the story of how I bought a fresh lobster that was giving me “the eye” in the Dominican Republic, and then set him free in the ocean. They thought it was funny… but seriously, if an animal is sending you psychic messages, how can you not politely request that they unband his claws and give him to you in a plastic bag? I avoided eye contact with the lobsters in the tank last night at Red Lobster.
I like karmic victories, no matter how small. I think they add up somewhere down the line.
My inlaws took my breath away with a beautiful bracelet I will keep forever. My mother-in-law is a very positive person, and the bracelet was a Brighton and simply said “blessed” on it, with enough subtle bling and beautiful squared link (just my style!!) to make me squeal. Quietly. Politely, in the restaurant. After we left, I went and used the gift cards our Aunts and Uncle and Cousin had given me to get some really cool blouses, a new wall file holder for my office, and a set of lovely sterling silver and crystal square stud earrings.
Talk about feeling like a superstar!
It takes time to get over homesickness. For the record, I don’t think I will ever really get over being homesick, no matter how many happy moments I have here. I miss the people, and the familiarity and diversity of my big city Toronto. I miss the click-clack of ridiculously high-heeled shoes on the gum and cigarette butt ridden sidewalks of downtown Toronto. I miss the subway, people watching, and buying a bottle of water or two for street people on a hot day, and sliding them a five or ten. I miss city life because 60% of me is city and always will be. But 40% of me likes the trees, the lakes, the space, the zero traffic and the ability to go fishing in our boat, right after work.
And I miss my peeps. My family and my friends. And I really strongly miss Heinz Spaghetti. Damn you black market crooks on Amazon! I’m not paying $5 a can for it, you scam artists.
I bunny trail… sorry.
This was a birthday that made me feel safe, and loved and ‘seen’ by his family. And I cried like a baby off and on all day Monday and then again Tuesday, because my heart was so touched and validated. That I too matter in this new branch of family on my third anniversary of moving to Texas. And all the messages from family, friends and colleagues around the world made me feel… loved.
And I let that in, and tucked it in my heart for the days I feel a little lonely and lost, figuring out this new path and destiny.