(Sorry, I will calm down. There won't be too many exclamation points, I promise. It won't be very much about me at all actually, what am I like 21 still? This is going to be Birthday Weekend: Calmish Church Choir Mommy edition.) (Wait no that sounds more boring than I actually am, it's something in between cray cray party yo, and super boring.) (Oh just read it.)
Okay so my birthday always starts after the kids are down on Halloween night (YES IT DOES, IT IS LIKE THE SABBATH, JUST GO WITH IT) when I help myself to their candy (we are unabashed communists around here, and communist in the sense of the leaders take what we want and arbitrarily distribute the rest based on favors to the regime and good behavior and our moods and whatnot) but this year I didn't even have to take that much candy because LOOK, Another Nathan made me a Halloween* pie!
(*Birthday eve pie. Which he at first called a Halloween pie because he (adorably) (as any good friend would) didn't want to step on Mark's toes in making birthday treats. And because people always need extra pie... on Halloween? Ha.) (He is good people, yo.) Anyway it was full of peanut butter and cream cheese and homemade whipped cream and there were chocolate chips all through it and peanuts in the crust and oh good grief. I just. Okay. It was really good, y'all.
On Friday night Marky and I went downtown and had dinner at this trendy Laotian restaurant. We had never had Laotian food before, but let me tell you, the Laotians eat well. At least the ones in Raleigh. Lovely Asian ingredients, cooked in some kind of French style (thank you colonialism) (yes, I am a lady who reads human interesty things on the backs of menus) and we basically just ordered what our server said were the best things and they were. Mark got some kind of pork belly soup, and I had a duck thing with spicy marinated (un-ripe? it's a thing) papaya with cabbage and rice, all of which I ate with my fingers because hey, when in Rome. Or Laos. Or downtown Raleigh. Whatever.
Oh! And they had this sticky rice that was like... crunchy? toasty? I don't even know how to describe it but it was the best rice I have ever had, and I am not really a rice person, but it was awesome enough that if you are reading this and you ever come to Raleigh, I will take you out for Laotian food and I will read you the back of the menu about the owners' parents and we will eat toasty rice and you will like it. Yes you.
Also Marky gave me this beeeeeautiful bracelet he brought home from St Croix (the other one! I loved two! He gave me one on our anniversary but it turns out he got both! and I recognize I am being marriage-sappy right now but it's my birthday weekend and I can and I'm not sorry) which is sweet and thoughtful and makes me smile so much.
Then, as every year on All Saints weekend, our church did a Sunday night memorial evensong service. It is always really lovely, and this year particularly so for some reason. We sang this (not as well as that recording) (but still really really well!!) and it had me thinking all sorts of happy thoughts about that little (not so little anymore) choir and how they are my family at church and how super they have all been especially over the last two years, and how hard it is to find people outside your family that can be your people, and I have that, and it's no small thing, and I feel grateful and lucky and somehow I cried with them and laughed with them til I cried, and felt indignant together and protective and proud and tickled and sad, all in the course of two hours that evening. (Not an exaggeration. It was quite an evening with my alto ladies.) Just, you know, feeling lots (lots!) of Feelings.
And the postlude Another Nathan played after worship was a piece based on the same chorale which was the processional Mark and I picked for our wedding, a piece we have loved since high school, the first piece we ever loved together, I think (picture us, band nerds on the back of the bus, discman between us and one ear bud each, listening to symphonies. #hott). So basically I can never hear that tune without feeling full of emotional Marky memories anyway, and then to hear it after an emotional service, my bestest friend sitting at the organ, playing it so beautifully, stunning really, I kinda... I mean... you ever just need to happy sigh for a minute and take it all in? Yeah, that.
Okay I am losing an ability to be articulate and I am yammering on too much about my feeeeelings and this wasn't going to be a post all about me anyway, so. Moving on.
Birthday dinner! Another one! (Oops exclamation points.) (Oops still about me.) We ate empanadas and drank spicy cocktails with a group of friends, which was easy and fun and funny. My friend Meghan talked me into some fancy Mexican corn on the cob which was maybe the best thing I ate all weekend. Well, in the top three.
Sometimes birthdays feel hard, like any marking of passing time can of course, measuring what is against what has been and what could be. But sometimes you're measuring against what isn't, or what isn't anymore, and that feels better, and this was one of those years.
WHAT AM I EVEN TALKING ABOUT. Less inarticulate emotion in 3... 2... 1...
Ummmm and then I snuggled with Charlotte and read books with Nathan and trimmed Anneliese's bangs the end?
No, wait. Somewhere in there we also saw a movie and I ate a cake that Marky and the kids made, which was also laced with chocolate chips, because they love me and know me and my family is just THE BEST.
You think blowing out candles is awesome, but then you blow out candles with the help of your kids, who also helped bake the cake, and then you know how awesome blowing out candles can be.
Oh and also I am 33, because I am not into age-hiding. But I do reserve the right to change my mind about that, so if I am into age-hiding in a few years, just don't remind me of this post, mmkay?
Hey remember when "fall back" used to mean sleeping an extra hour in the morning? We were cute back then. Now it means an extra hour to bicker before school, and we can't even make it til our normal bedtime before we're dozing on the couch. So yeah. Happy birthday weekend, and goodnight.
(Oops. It was mostly about me after all.)