Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Birthdays Get Better Every Year

When I turned 16 (in the middle ages) I had high expectations for the big day.  I was going to drive myself everywhere with my new driver's license, look and feel beyond beautiful, a certain boy was going to come to my house with chocolates, flowers, and an official "sweet sixteen" request to be my first date, and I was going to finally be grown up.  Well, I was so grown up that the day ended in tears; no boys lined up outside my door in a frenzy to be my first date mate, and even though I got to drive around the small town of Cedar City, Utah that day, it was probably only to take my mom to the chiropractor.

For this year's birthday last month Brett had to go to a lecture at the university so he asked if he could take me to dinner the next night.  I was kind of bracing myself for a quieter day but it wasn't that way at all.  Abbey and Brett made me a yummy strawberry/peach pancake breakfast complete with whipped cream and a certificate for a massage at the Ritz Carlton (oh, I can't wait!).

Because Brett had been so busy with work the week before my birthday he hadn't had time to take Abbey to get me a gift.  When she woke up that morning her face was crestfallen. Her sadness tore me up and I was quick to reassure her that she was the best gift she could ever give to me.  After saying that, her face lit up with pleasure and she rushed into the kitchen.  Instead of dawdling to get ready for school she made her own lunch and let me enjoy breakfast.  That was probably my favorite gift of the day, and if she only knew how much I hate making lunch every morning, she would have known what a treat it was for me. She gave of herself that day and it was the perfect expression of her love.

Another sweet person gave of herself that day, my neighbor and friend Afton.  First, she picked up Abbey from school so that Brett could play hooky from work in the afternoon and take me to see The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I like science fiction movies and this was an especially good one.  I really like James Franco because he is not the typical actor type with all his Ivy League degrees and genius I.Q. and the story was very interesting and character-driven.  And of course it was nice to have Brett all to myself in the middle of the day.  Then Afton, after doing research on what my favorite birthday cake is, made me a lemon pie - without the meringue just the way I like it.  She and her children brought it over and then sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  I even got some little kid loves and it was so sweet. Abbey entertained the kids by making them into an impromptu choir and Afton and I got to chat for awhile.  She is the most thoughtful, most patient friend ever (she often shares her delicious cooking with us), and I hope to grow up to be just like her someday.

That night Abbey and I had our own birthday date while Brett was at his lecture and we went out to get gelato at the new Alaska Gelato place close to our villa.  What more could a girl want than lemon pie and gelato on her birthday?  Oh, and then we read together from The Chronicles of Narnia.

The next night Brett took me out to the Pearl, which is the richest and most exclusive area in Qatar.  I didn't quite feel like we fit in there but it was a beautiful setting for a celebration. The restaurant was not Arabic, not Lebanese, not Turkish, not even Iraqi or Thai.  It was French!  Les Deux Magots.  Oh yum!  There was even an unexpected guest who visited our table and almost made me scream:  a lizard.  Small rodents or reptiles are kind of the equalizing factor all over the world.  No matter how fancy or uppity your establishment, an uninvited guest like that at anyone's table could be reason enough for a free meal.  Maybe we should have tried.  At least the food was so delicious we forgot about the lizard visit.

 I think his name was Pierre.

 Crab appetizers
 Beef tenderloin for Brett!
 Sea bass for me!
 I can't remember the name of this decadent delight but it was heavenly.
Brett ate his dessert before I could snap a picture of it!  Yes, it was that good.

 We explored The Pearl a little bit, but it was pretty humid that night.

And guess what Brett surprised me with at the end of the night . . . . the photo above is a clue . . . Well, I had you for a second, didn't I?

At sixteen I never would have imagined that an old lady Grandma Dianna birthday could be so wonderful. But birthdays are much better now, now that I really am "mature" and my expectations don't resemble something from a fairy tale.  It is funny how that works though. The less I expect my life to be a Molly Ringwald or Meg Ryan movie, the more it becomes something worth living, something that brings my own dreams to life and I get to be the star in my own story line.


Kristy said...

Great post, Mom! You three are the awesomest.

Juli Barros said...

How lucky you are! I hope all your birthdays are this good or better!

Amber said...

What a fantastic birthday for a fantastic lady! On a side note that is sort of related: I envy you for having such wonderful neighbors! I miss that about Doha. I also miss having a great visiting teacher. :)