Erik timed his text perfectly this morning with my 5:37 alarm–
Happy Birthday to you,
You live in a zoo.
Just look at the monkeys
Sleeping right next to you!
How right he is. Those little monkeys bounced and giggled well until the night until I practically sobbed, “You have to let me sleep; it’s almost my birthday.”
There’s something about ‘my day’ that makes me giddy, but also a bit whiny like a little girl with a great big curl at her party– “I shouldn’t have to clean the kitchen; it’s my birthday.”
My little girl curls are much better since I used Mary’s iron on a whim. You know those ones they wave at you in the mall that cost $200? Well, they are $30 on Amazon. Two minutes transforms my naturally messy hair into luscious ringlets. Lizzy, Zoey– I bought you a green one. It’s in the mail.
But I was thrilled to hear about instagram on my iphone. My friend Annie made these fabulous little books capturing everyday life and I think they are the perfect gift for my little missionary. Goodness, instagram is a fun world: seizing the moment during violin lesson, playing with the filters (see above), making friends… My photos are private but I’ll approve you if I know you. Be warned, I take way too many and will probably keep up the pace until I get 72 for my three tiny books.
My favorite set of big books these days are the Maisy Dobbs series. Set in the 1930s, Maisy is a housemaid risen to a well-educated private investigator. The pace of the novels is slow compared to today’s one hour crime shows, Maisy is intelligent and well-spoken; true principles come out in the stories. I don’t buy audio books very often (’cause you can’t get them for a penny) but I bought a recording of books two and three because the narrator is extraordinary and it’s simply a good voice to have in your head. Many of the characters in crisis in these books are dealing with hurts from WWI twelve years after the armistice– and this gives me hope, maybe I don’t need to heal too quickly. I should give myself a decade and then work on it.
I do worry I’ll never be able to forgive what was done to me– that I’ll grow bitter and old and never become the woman I once envisioned. My sister worries about the same thing, which makes me feel much better because she’s one of the most fabulous people to ever walk this earth.
And I do know the path to peace. My friend Catherine wrote The Battle in Our Brains, an amazing article on how scripture study navigates us through the chaos of daily life. Read it. You’ll love it. I’m privileged to pound the early morning pavement with Catherine and be tutored in person. All my running buddies are incredible. Truly. Erik always wants me to do weight classes at the gym but I hate missing a conversation with the girls.
The age of internet birthdays is perfect for an extroverted introvert like me. I love people– all of them– and I love Facebook messages and gifts on my doorstep, but I’m just not up to a string of lunches. I’ve been far too busy these last months and for me that leads to depression. I’m not ashamed of it. Some people thrive on action; I thrive on quiet. I really and truly love every person who asks a for time or a favor. My heart says, ‘Yes! I’ll write that article, take those photos, help with that project.” And I mean it, I really do. But I don’t have the hours or energy for everything asked of me. You remember the words from Anne Morrow Lindbergh, “My Life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.”
Ah, writing opportunities, photos and projects will always be there but I only have a few short years with my children at home. I intend to give them the best of my time. I can sneak in a few diversions, but I need to be careful.
Our favorite family diversion these days is the the British series Merlin. Have you heard of it? It features Merlin and Arthur as young men in Camelot: completely clean, incredibly entertaining and full of interesting ideas. My sister and I talk constantly about life lessons from Merlin:
1. Merlin always saves the day, but because he keeps his magical abilities secret he never gets credit for anything.
2. Humility and honesty are more powerful than magic.
3. Even when problems appear impossible, Arthur and friends keep fighting. They don’t know Merlin is about to jump in and save the day. Even when our problems appear impossible we should fight like dragons– we don’t know the forces at work providing help. “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” 2 Kings 6:16.
Favorite episodes? Beauty and the Beast parts 1 and 2. You’ll see why.
Phew, this is long, but I’ve saved the best for last. Several months ago, in the wake of selling my mother’s home, my friend Lisa took home a bag of clothing. For my birthday she transformed it into this:
I’m overwhelmed by it– the colors, the pattern, the sheer artistry. The backing and surrounding fabrics look like they were chosen by my mother. Lisa said she felt my mom with her; I know that’s true.
And today, I hope she’s with me.