Sunday, May 10, 2009

How I Spent My Birthday (For Once, It Wasn't On Mother's Day)

On May 8, 1963, a daughter was born to a family that already had 3 daughters. By then, Dad had given up on ever having a son, though he never, ever complained about it. It was close enough to Mother's Day that Mom always said their daughter was the best Mother's Day gift she could ever receive. That daughter was me, of course. Forever cursed to do the Birthday-Mother's Day dance. How do you celebrate both holidays properly, especially when they land on the very same day? Together? Not fair. Apart? Too frivolous. Add the mother-in-law in there and you've got more problems. I now live too far to even see my own Mom on Mother's Day. Sigh. This year, I had seriously felt like skipping them both altogether. Who cares, really? But my sweet husband had other ideas.

He secretly planned a short holiday for our family at one of our favorite places to visit. We were already scheduled to see our droll dermatologist in Portland and stay overnight, since it was so close to my birthday. But Todd went and booked two nights in Leavenworth, WA, for the following days! Imagine my surprise when I accidentally found this out by seeing an e-mail confirming our reservation! I felt SO badly for that but I couldn't undo what had been done. And I had to tell him I knew. He was bummed but I tried to cheer him up by telling him he should have seen my face when I found out! Anyway, he forgave me, I worked like mad to do a ton of laundry and we set off on a foggy, way-too-rainy Wednesday.

After our appointment, we went to the Oregon Zoo to see the baby elephant that was born 8 months ago. He's grown, all right! The zoo was basically empty as it had been raining and everyone else was at school (the joys of homeschooling!) A quick dinner at Togo's and back to our usual Portland hotel for the night. The kids usually have no trouble sleeping here as it's kind of like our home away from home but I guess they were excited about Leavenworth. Todd and Carmen slept - the rest of us struggled.

Up for our hotel breakfast and then on to Leavenworth. This town is set in what they call "The Enchantments", a valley surrounded by awesome mountains usually covered in snow. The town redid itself in a Bavarian theme and the hotel we stay at is one of the best there. It's definitely an infrequent treat. It has a huge breakfast room with amazing views of the mountains and serves an excellent breakfast, which is one of my kids' favorite things about it. I happen to love their oatmeal (I'm not hard to please). I got to watch the sun rise and set over the hills from our room and the moon was full or nearly so and one night, Todd and I went out to the large deck to look at the moon together. The moon gazing down on us over "The Enchantments" was very romantic. But the door back in was locked. Finding our way back into the hotel was fun - the place is big. It's so nice that the kids are old enough to stay in the room by themselves for a bit. Todd and I also went down and listened to the nightly piano music together. Good to spend alone time with my husband. When we first went into our hotel room, I saw that they had put out a bottle of sparkling cider with a card that said "Happy Birthday" with two wine glasses. On my birthday, all five of us toasted to me. My non-soda drinking kids didn't like the bubbles but that's just fine. I hope they always stay non-soda drinking! Todd and the kids also had cards for me to open. We ate well for every meal, I didn't have to do dishes, it was a great time all around. On my birthday, we ate at a restaurant called "Cafe Mozart". It was so cool and our meals were excellent. The background music was familiar to us (we like Mozart) and that night there was a harpist playing. She took to our family immediately and my kids ended up sitting with her while she played. I got a photo (for once) but only after I saw another lady take a picture and it dawned on me that I should do the same. I'm clueless about photo ops. We walked around the little shops, the kids swam and played racquetball, we golfed at the hotel's putting green. I had a wonderful time and a terrific birthday. Thanks, Todd!

After all this extravagance, I thought today would be rather quiet. My husband came home from work this morning and about an hour later, I finally got up and ready for the day. Walked into the kitchen and there was a dozen pink roses on the table with cards and donuts. Todd was cooking eggs and bacon. What a guy! He really made me feel special this week. I am so thankful for this husband of mine. He went to bed (he's working tonight) and my kids did the dishes. I read. After lunch, I took a nap in my big chair and when I woke up, I read some more. Without guilt. It felt terrific. In between, I finished unpacking our suitcases and did laundry. But it was a great Mother's Day. Oh, and my mother-in-law? She's been in Turkey since last Tuesday. I wonder what kind of day she had?


Cate said...

So glad that you had a wonderful celebration just for you!

Again - Happy Birthday my friend!

C xx

jugglingpaynes said...

Happy Mother's Day Birthday Kate! It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

I know what you mean about the close events. I never know what to do with three birthdays in three weeks and always end up having to celebrate about five times. I know the math doesn't sound right, but it's accurate. :o) The problem is that many of their friends are also May.

Peace and Laughter,

Leingang Family said...

What a wonderful birthday surprise! I love Leavenworth! We haven't been there since I was pregnant with Zack. We'll have to go back someday.