Saturday, March 12, 2011

On my birthday, I wished for more birthdays

The year I turned 19, my mom made my favorite birthday treat: spice cake with penuche icing (brown sugar, butter, etc.) with Bridgeman's butter brickle ice cream on the side. She didn't have 19 candles in a single color, so she used a whole variety of colors. I must have seemed unusually resolute as I blew out those multicolored candles, because she asked what I had wished for. I wouldn't answer, and I probably blushed.

An hour later, the sweet-faced young man who had been smiling at me all week called. We went out for coffee - the start of a lovely teenage romance - and I blushed again when I told him I'd wished on those candles for him to call. Mom and I had a running joke about multicolored candles after that, but I can't remember wishing for anything really special.

Yesterday, I had two opportunities to make a birthday wish. Peter put one pink candle in the yummy banana-chocolate chip-pecan muffin that Abby brought for my birthday breakfast. A second, in a candle holder artfully fashioned from an orange, was provided by the Chinese restaurant where we gathered for dinner. The kids helped me blow out both candles.

The wish that came to me both times was simple: Let the happiness that I feel this moment continue for a long time.

What it meant was, Let Peter and me be healthy. For a long time.

Seriously, I have everything I could want. I'm retired since December, Peter's business is both flourishing and manageable, we love being able to care for the grandkids, we have health care coverage, and we have plenty of interests and hobbies to keep ourselves amused.

Every day Peter talks about how delightful the children are, how lucky we are to be in their lives, and what good choices have brought us to this point. It's a useful habit, appreciating all the good things. But I can't silence the tiny voice in my head that says, "You'd better hope you both stay healthy so you can keep enjoying this."

As I turned 68 yesterday, that was the only thing I felt a need to wish for.

Clearly I'm not the only one thinking that way. This wonderful birthday gift should provide lots of ideas and information for eating wisely and well. It's by America's Test Kitchen, whose recipes and detailed instructions I've come to appreciate in my new role as she-who-cooks-dinner.

There are no guarantees. But with this and a little more exercise, I intend to try to help my birthday wish come true.

21 comments:

Red Shoes said...

I wish that for you, too!!

What a wonderfully sweet and touching post!!

~shoes~

Linda Myers said...

Every day is a gift, isn't it?

Golden To Silver Val said...

Happy Birthday to you! Mine is on the 15th and I can't wait for the yummy cake I'll get. I hope your birthday wishes come true and you enjoy many MANY more happy HEALTHY birthdays!!

Abby said...

*sniff* Glad the present matched your wish! =)

Jeanie said...

It is interesting how something we may have taken a little too much for granted becomes the thing we wish for the most. I am with you on being very grateful for good health and wishing (along with doing all I can) for it to continue. Wishing you many more healthy and happy birthdays.

Linda in New Mexico said...

Happy, Happy Birthday. And of course many more. Especially for those of us who not only love to be there for but with our grands...you betcha. The Olde Bagg, Linda

gayle said...

That is my wish for you!! A very healthy and happy life! You look so young! Well you are!!!

Angel Eyes said...

Happy Birthday and I wish you so many more birthdays filled with much health and happiness! Health is so important and what we put into our bodies is what keeps us going longer.. xxooxx

Retired English Teacher said...

Happy birthday. Birthdays really do give us an opportunity to reflect on where we are in life. If you are like me, you may have wondered how we went from 19 to 68. Where did the time go?

I think your attitude and healthy plans will bring you many more years to follow.

DJan said...

I am also 68, with all the proximity it has to 70, and to the fear that our health won't last. Well, it never does, but we seem to manage to find joy and love in our lives and that won't stop, ever. Glad to have you along in my journey!

Paul C said...

An enjoyable reflection on counting one's numerous blessings. I see there is a 60's fraternity going on here, I just turned 60.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I truly enjoyed this peace. For the first time in my life - 54 - I'm thinking some of these same things. That we enjoy good health to enjoy this life we've created. And you are just starting to cook dinner at night? Lucky you. I'm much too burned out on that task.

Grandmother said...

Happiest of birthdays to you. I like that youkeep your wishes simple and your gratitude growing. That's what will keep you happy and healthy. This post did my heavy heart good.

FabuLeslie said...

So happy for you! Happy birthday! Have fun cooking.

400 Wakeups said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!! I am so glad you were able to celebrate 68, surrounded by those you love most and in great health. I have spent so many of my years taking my health for granted and as I get older, I am now beginning to realize just how important it is to be healthy and how you must seize every moment when you are healthy. I think wishing for more birthdays is the best wish you can make when you blow out that candle!! I hope your entire birthday month has been spectacular thus far!

Kathy (from Everyday Bliss) said...

What a perfect Birthday wish! Here's hoping it remains true!

Nancy, I've been a little MIA in the blog world but I am getting ready to launch again. I was moving some of my favorite posts over to the new site and included the lovely guest post you wrote for me. It is as relevant today as when you wrote it. Thank you so much.

And PLEASE feel ever invited to share your wisdom with us when ever you would like!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Wonderful birthday story..I enjoyed it. I wish you many more years of good health and happiness:)

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs said...

I'm quite belated but want to wish you a happy birthday and heaps o' health to come your way. This post definitely resonates, as health is at the top of my wish list, on birthdays and every day. We've so much to stick around for!

Pearl said...

Wishing you both health and happiness. :-)

And your cake on your 19th birthday? :-) My mother loves the same.

Pearl

Jeanie said...

Best wish ever -- I hope it comes true! And anything by America's Test Kitchen rocks!

Deb Shucka said...

Happy Birthday! May your wish be true for all the years ahead of you.

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