So! I woke up early in the pleasant knowledge that with the day off I could always go back to sleep again. But at 6 am I wanted to know if the Library millage had passed, so I reached for my iPod touch and poked up Facebook. The first thing I saw was not the millage news (though it did pass--hooray!) but this lovely post from my lovely daughter, far and away in France:
And to preserve the record, this is what I answered her:
Ruth Wilson Thank you for the lovely greeting, Sister Bear--it was the first thing I saw this morning. Those lilacs are gorgeous! The bush here has just barely got leaves on it. Quite a while ago I revised my purpose in accompanying you anywhere--it's to have the best time ever! Looking forward to having you home from your travels again so I can hear all about them first hand. And if you feel like baking or cooking, I'm willing to sit up at the table to be served.
Then I got out of bed and commenced practicing on the piano. First thing in the morning is the best time to practice because Ben is still in bed then. When he's awake, he likes to pound on the bass keys and bug me. This week my teacher gave me my first polyphonic piece, "Fairest Lord Jesus," to work on, and it was tricky but very pretty and nice. After while Betsy came nosing up to me to be petted and perhaps to intimate that I had played the piece about a thousand times too many.
After Ben got up I desisted, and switched to cleaning and organizing my sewing room--always more work to be done on it, but pleasant work. Around noon I knocked off and drove into town for groceries and a pizza for Benny. (Heaven send he never gets sick of pizza and chicken fingers, the child will starve.) Included in the groceries were some cookies that you would identify as Girl Scout thin mints and Samoas if you hadn't seen the box. These I reserved for a special purpose, as you will see.
The rest of the afternoon I spent in equal parts running about outside with Betsy, hassling Benjamin, and puttering around the sewing room. And so lucky am I that the birthday presents we ordered from Amazon actually arrived via US Mail on the precise right date. So exciting--we got a piano lamp! It's just exactly what we needed. See, you can adjust it to shine right down on your sheet music. I just love it.
Also I got "100 Snowflakes to Crochet" so that I can participate in the Crochet-A-Long that Martine is hosting on her "iMake" podcast and blog, which seemed like such a fun thing to do that it needed doing immediately. Also a journaling work book. And that's not counting the seven dolls I bought at the Allegan Antique Fair last week, all of which I count as birthday dolls. Buying dolls for a girl's birthday was not a tradition in my family, so I'm filling in those missing years myself.
This evening was our church's weekly "Challengers" program for first and second grade kids, at which I have the privilege of leading one of the tables--five marvelous eight-year-olds who were all seven when we started out together last fall. They've all had birthdays too.
The highlight of my day came during the evening when my kiddos and their 35 or so fellow Challengers, all precious and beautiful, sang a good loud rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday to You" for me. They were all grinning at me and I grinned right back all the way through, plus I got two hugs. ("How old are you, Mrs. Ruth?" "Fifty-seven!" "Wow!") At the end of the evening, that's when the cookies came in--cookies plus a 40-pack of Tim Bits I'd picked up on the way in. There was enough for seconds and thirds for everybody, too.
My official birthday dinner is postponed until May 8, but that is a good thing because May 8 has always been kind of a blah day, after the exhilaration of May 7. If Ben will go with us, it will take place at Bilbo's Pizza, but if he won't then maybe Friday's or Red Robin.
And do I have an official birthday cake? Yes I do! Ray brought me a Boonzaaijer Bavarian cream-filled birthday cake--the best cake ever. And there were birthday cards, and many lovely wishes on Facebook for me.
Now I will finish up this lovely May 7 and this happy recap by reading another chapter of "The Hobbit" to Benjamin as he settles down for bed. Betsy will settle down with him. She used to sleep in a doggie bed on the floor, but when she discovered that the bottom-bunk in Ben's room was untenanted she established occupancy there for herself. Her mama didn't raise no dummy puppies.
And then when his prayers are said and lights are out and the fan is on and his iPod is lulling him to sleep with "Just So Stories," I will happily settle down into bed myself, so content with the pretty way our room turned out, and especially with the new mattress that is so-ooo-o comfortable you barely have to try to sleep. And I'll listen for a happy while to a knitting podcast, or Don Quixote, or some iTunes radio, and be soothed, be composed and quieted, so that when this May 7 slips away the last glimpse of its going will be unknown.