Another birthday has rolled around somehow. Fifty-one just seems anti-climatic, doesn't it? Not nearly as exciting as fifty, but still just as unreal. Age really is just a number ... now I understand.
For years I've taken my Birthday-Day off to spend as I please, a gift for myself. Tom often takes the day off, too, and we go adventuring, usually a drive through the Hill Country checking out the wildflowers. Last year we explored one of the areas my memoir-writing grandfather lived and I think the year before that we took a ride on the Hill Country Flyer.
This year, we're both too busy at work to skip off into the Hill Country today - not a bad thing, of course, having jobs, and our free day is just postponed, not cancelled. So today will be like every other Tuesday - critter care, hours planted in front of a computer, and an episode of "Lost" - with perhaps some laundry or other chore squeezed in there somewhere.
No complaints from me, though ... this past weekend was a gift in itself: warm days, cool nights, and if there was a cloud in the sky, I don't remember seeing it. Flowers are blooming everywhere - our road is lined with yellow and purple ... the woods are splashed with pink from awakening redbud trees ... and bluebonnets crowd along the sides of the highway.
The best part - my house was filled with kids. I'm so grateful that Tommy's girlfriend got a job in San Antonio - it means we get to see both of them much more often.
Tom picked up the two youngest from college on his way home from work Friday night. The Girl promptly crawled into bed and fell asleep, poor thing. Daniel and I tried to watch Sherlock Holmes with Tom, but neither of us made it all the way through; all of those nights of just four hours of sleep finally caught up with me.
But, oh, sleeping in on a Saturday morning ... not needing to be up for anything in particular or be anywhere at a particular time. Glorious! It feels so good to be lazy sometimes, although by "lazy" don't think I wasn't busy. I made muffins for everyone, fed the dogs and the bird, probably straightened the kitchen and did some laundry before heading to Wales with Rick Steves and then working out - but it was my state of mind, not needing to rush, just taking my time. I love days like that.
Tommy, Kirby, and Josie arrived in the early afternoon. Josie is just an older version of Belle, a Rottweiler Terrier mix, and Max adores her. No, more than that ... he's obsessed with her! I'm sure the fact that Belle looks so much like Josie scored the puppy some points with Max. He probably thinks she's their Love Child. She looks like she could be!
Thanks to Tommy and Kirby, I finally visited Flat Creek Estate, a winery not far from us. It will soon be celebrating it's 10th anniversary, and yet I'm embarrassed to admit I had never been there! We sat at a small table in the tasting room, sampling several different wines and just talking, in a way I haven't had time to talk to them before. No rush, no interruptions, just me, them, and time ... and wine, crackers, chocolate, and beautiful scenery outside of the window.
Back home, we took all the critters for a walk, ate hamburgers, played board and card games, and watched movies.
It was such a wonderful day, but then Easter Sunday morning as I'm getting ready for church, I hear on the television that a 21-year-old college student disappeared Saturday while racing some friends across Hamilton Pool, a natural swimming hole outside of Austin.
For my family, Saturday was a beautiful day. For his, it was a tragedy.
I thought of friends of mine who have lost children this year, who must be feeling that loss even more keenly on Easter morning. I think of other friends who are separated from their children by miles ... or by hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and all of those other walls that somehow come between loved ones.
Easter Sunday is when we celebrate a Father being reunited with his Son - a promise to all of us for an end to our own separations. But we all want time in this lifetime, and that's why I consider the time I spent with my children this weekend a gift. A blessing. I realize circumstances can change in a heartbeat, so I ignored the kitchen and the laundry, my blog and book, and soaked it up while I could, stockpiling memories for days I know will come when I won't be so lucky.
Once again, I started the week on a sleep deficit. I know it's not good for me, but it was worth it. Sleep I can catch up on, sooner or later, but time here and now with my kids ... it's just not guaranteed, is it?
"What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson