My birthday was on February 17th. I turned 34. On last year’s birthday, my big goal was to tone up and look good in a bathing suit. This year, I’m trying to figure out how to rebuild my life. It’s a pretty stark contrast.
Simon was great about making me feel special on the big day. He would always have a sweet card ready and give a useful present, like a jewelry organizer, iPod, or giftcard to Sephora (that’s ALWAYS a good idea). He would also make sure the kids were on their best behavior and let me forgo changing diapers for almost 24 hours. As loved as I felt this year, Simon’s absence weighed heavy on my heart. The day swung back and forth between sweet and somber.
I’ll never forget my 30th birthday. I was in between having babies and determined to have a giant dance party. I wanted to pack out a club with the people I loved and just dance the night away. Simon didn’t dance. He wasn’t good at it. He didn’t enjoy it. But he loved me. So he gave his wholehearted support as I budgeted like crazy to rent out a local dance hall, DJ, and waitstaff. We invited 100 friends and asked everyone to dress in bright, shiny, or shimmery clothing. Simon happily sat in the corner chatting with his buddies. He didn’t dance once but was content being with the woman he loved in a room of dear friends. Simon isn’t in any of the pictures due to the sitting-in-the-corner thing but witnesses will confirm he was there and that he was a good sport!
For the birthday weekend. my kids, my parents, my brothers along with their wives and kids, and my new guy spent a few days in San Diego. We lounged by the hotel pool, enjoyed a morning at the San Diego Safari Park, and watched excessive amounts of cable TV. We went to sushi one evening; Simon loved sushi. I was truly enjoying myself but, at the same time, overwhelmed with the emotion of knowing he doesn’t get to eat sushi again. Tears, right there at the table. Having the support of my family and friends means everything because they welcome the array of emotions that present themselves at often inopportune times. They rub my back, let me express what I’m feeling, and understand that grief is a wild process that isn’t predictable. We finished the birthday festivities with our annual tradition of dinner at Benihana. The kids love the animated chefs working the Hibachi grills. My older two kids proudly gifted me slightly tacky jewelry. Even in the grief, the love I feel is real and warm.