Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | March 21, 2012 | 8 Comments

Apparently a lot of people don’t like their birthday.  I think that’s because they are doing it wrong.  Most people think of their birthday as the day that signifies that they are another year older.  That’s entirely missing the point.  A birthday is a day when you can walk around doing whatever you please while starting almost every sentence with, “Well, alright, since it’s my birthday…”  The sentence can end with any of the following:

“…yes, I will sleep in and let you do the barn chores.”

“…I will have dessert and, since you insist, you can pick up the check.”

“…I can meet you for a pedicure even though my last one isn’t chipped yet.”

“…I’d be happy to go to a matinee with you instead of getting the housecleaning done.”

Etc, etc, etc.  Choose your favorite ending.  That’s my perspective on it.

As a matter of fact, I prefer to celebrate my entire birthday month.  Because not everyone is available to spend time with me on the actual anniversary of my birth.  And everyone deserves a chance to celebrate with me.  Really.  I am a lot of fun.

For example, I try to spend a day with the kids doing something we’ve been meaning to do but always put off because we don’t have the time or the money.  I do a Tour de Lunch where I spend several afternoons meeting with friends to eat and gossip catch up.  In these days of email and smartphones, it is a treat to sit across the table from a friend instead of just reading her status update.  And I always spend a long weekend with some girlfriends at the beach, lounging in the hot tub and watching trashy reality TV.  Not once, not for a minute, not even for the brief time between sips of raspberry margarita, do I worry about being a year older.

This year, I called up a friend a few days before my birthday.

“Hey,” I said, “Me and the kids are coming to town to see you and go to that safari place with you for my birthday.”

“Cool,” she said, “You should stay here at my house.  We’ll go to the museum, too.  How about we grill some burgers for dinner when you get here?”

“Well, alright”, I said, “Since it’s my birthday, we’d be happy to stay with you and burgers will be just fine.”

See how that works.

It also helps that we have been friends for 17 years.  When you have been friends for 17 years, you can call up, invite yourself over, and spend the night without even batting an eye.  17 years is nothing to sneeze at, people.

And this particular friend is especially dear to me.  She was always the first person to visit when I had a new baby.  She breezed into town in her single girl Geo Metro with her single girl blonde highlights and single girl chihuahua named Hercules and carried my baby around as if he or she was the coolest baby in the whole world.  And just for that afternoon, I was not an exhausted young mother of a newborn, wearing a spit-up stained nursing nightgown (at 3pm in the afternoon) but a courageous young woman on the cusp of another exciting adventure filled with trials and triumphs.  Sometimes it just takes a good friend to offer the proper perspective.

So now that she has her own children it was my turn to arrive with help in the form of an experienced Toddler Wrangler…

…and a gentle Baby Holder…

…to offer a break from mommydom.  Turns out she doesn’t lay around feeling depressed and looking pathetic when she has a baby as much as she goes to yoga, hosts preschool playdates, and still wears stylish jeans.  I like to think that doesn’t mean I am a deplorable loser for the first 6 months after I give birth and she is a much more confident and capable mother than me.  I prefer to think that I just have good taste in friends.  That’s my perspective.

In any case, there is a great pleasure in laughing with an old friend over a glass of wine and burgers fresh off the grill.  And an even more immense joy to do so while listening to the laughter of our children jumping in the bouncy house, romping in the playroom, and cooing over the baby.  What greater triumph than a loving friendship passed down to the next generation?

And, of course, she still has the power to offer me a new perspective.  Because as much as us country people like to pretend we wouldn’t live in a neighborhood, under the watchful eye of an HOA, even if it was the last place left on Earth, it was lovely to sit in her beautiful home overlooking the golf course.

No half finished projects in sight.  No bare spots in the lawn where the dogs like to roll or mangled flowers in the front yard that have been deheaded by nibbling ducks.  No mehing or clucking or neighing or oinking.  Just the whisper of golf carts on the path, sweet birdsong from the lush trees, and a soft cooling mist from the surrounding water sprinklers.  I could get used to that.  I mean, if I had to.  If it really was the last place left on Earth.

Also, visiting her reminded me how happy I am not to have these things scattered all over my house.

Plus, I discovered that although I barely liked my own children when they were young, I love my friend’s children.  Her 4 year old was up and waiting for me when I came down for coffee in the morning.

I knew he wasn’t allowed to watch TV so as we cuddled on the couch, I perused the channels carefully.  I knew morning news was off the table (war, murder, and presidential primaries are not for the newly inducted) but, since it was my birthday, I just couldn’t manage Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS.  We settled on videos on the country music channel.

“Do you listen to country music?”  I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Oh, what’s your favorite song?”

He was quiet for a minute.  He watched the video and then smiled at me.

“This one’s my favorite!”

Yep, that’s what I thought.  Not much country music listening in this house.  We watched the videos for a while as we waited for the sun to come up.  While I got up to get a fresh cup of coffee, he sat chuckling over a GEICO commercial.

“I like the short shows the best!”  he declared.

Isn’t that adorable?  He thinks commercials are the “short shows.”   Maybe one day when he is a famous brain surgeon, my kids (who were probably awake upstairs but quietly sneaking in episodes of SpongeBob in the rec room) can come visit him in his beautiful home on a golf course.  Although, as of right now, he told me hopes to grow up to be a tow truck driver.  Which is handy, too.  Whatever makes you happy, little man.

And despite the fact that I found it exhausting when my kids were babies and would cry, not because they were hungry or wet, but just because they wanted to be carried around, I found that quality amusing in my friend’s 5 month old.  We all took turns hoisting him over our shoulder, patting his back, tickling his tummy, and trying to make him laugh.  Little, in particular, enjoyed getting to be a Big for a change.  Isn’t a change in perspective a wonderful thing?

All in all, it was an awesome visit.  We fed some exotic animals…

…and fooled the kids into thinking an educational museum was just fun and games…

…and didn’t head for home until everyone was nice and tired.

We even hung out with Hercules.  Who has put on a little weight since I last saw him.  Happens to the best of us, buddy.

Basically, it was everything that a birthday should be.  And now I am off to the beach with my friends.  Because my birthday month isn’t over yet.  So you can be sad and complain about getting older.  Go ahead.  From my perspective, that just leaves more cake for me. 🙂

This post is dedicated to my friend, Tanya.  She is proof that a good friend is the best gift you can get in life.  On your birthday or any other day.  We love you, Tanya!

Here’s to 17 years!  And many, many more!


8 Responses to “Perspective.”

  1. Diane B.
    March 21st, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

    What a great post Stevie! Can’t wait for the beach! I just mixed up a batch of margaritas to freeze – the hot tub is calling our names! Happy Birthday!!

  2. Mary H
    March 21st, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    I am sooooo happy for Tanya! i didn’t know she was even pregnant. i can’t wait to celebrate your birthday at the beach, hot tub and trash TV here we come!!

  3. Tanya
    March 21st, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Reading this made me cry. You never told me all the pictures you took were for your blog. Very sweet. We loved having you and can’t wait for you to come again. You are right, the best things in life are friends!!!! Love you!!

  4. Jill
    March 22nd, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Everybody needs a Tanya! Good for you gals!! As it is my birthday month as well, live it up for me too!! I love a good birthday month when everyone is happy. Great post Stevie.

  5. Carolynn
    March 22nd, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

    Hey! Happy Birthday Month. It’s my birthday this month too and I like your perspective. I’ve never had a bad birthday and I’m happy that the numbers are getting higher. It beats the alternative.


  6. buttons
    March 26th, 2012 @ 4:38 am

    Happy Birthday month, it is mine too and I agree with your blog 100%. I have a excellent friend like your friend Tanya, it is the best feeling in the world to share so much with someone who was not born into your family but became a sister very quickly.We are very lucky.
    Have a great birthday month I am off to enjoy more of this I am getting older, and don’t care month. B

  7. Ashleigh
    March 20th, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    Love your blog! By far my favorite. You have me laughing and crying all the time. I was wondering what type of exotic animal was the one with the huge tongue and the teeth in the picture?

  8. admin
    March 20th, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Hi! It was some kind of ox. The goal is to drop the food in before he touches you with that tongue!

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