It was a great birthday, even as I creep toward middle age. I would say the low point was when my sister-in-law, Gina, was astounded that I was only 34 since she, apparently, thought I was much older. You can take it as a fairly reliable maxim that you should avoid saying the words "Wow, really? I thought you were older" to anyone over ten and a half. Gina, just because you are 41 and look 25 doesn't mean the rest of us are as aged as we appear.
But there were plenty of high notes. First, I started my morning with Nutella. Second, my parents showed up bearing presents. And third, I got to take a walk with my neighbor and all three of our children rode in their strollers without complaining. With suckers, but without complaining and with only minor complications. As I strolled, Elliott and Frankie each took off their shoes, one by one, and managed to toss them just right so that I tripped over them four different times. Molly must have been secretly inspired by this example. She started the walk wearing ten different hairbows of myriad shades, clustered, at her insistence, around her hairline like an old-fashioned floral bathing cap, but it wasn't until the end of the two-mile walk that I noticed she was wearing exactly zero hairbows, not to mention no shoes or socks. Retrieving them was like living the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale; every fifty yards or so there was a yellow hairbow or a pink shoe to pick up.
Later, when I got home from work, Dean had the house sparkling, tickets to a show, and a Devil Dog with a candle burning in it. Frankie had painted me a rainbow on a poster-sized canvas and Molly rushed at me like I was home from the war.
It was a good birthday.
Oh, yeah, and since this is Frankie's Countdown, here is Installment Two of her recent photography. Every bit as good as the first, especially the sparkly purple horses.