Birthdays are so brief. I like to think of them as sort of sprinkling over a whole week. My twenty-seventh birthday was on Friday, June 15, and I thought it should at least last through the weekend. I shared Sunday with Josh: his first Father's Day.
On Friday, Josh went into the living room while I cuddled and chattered with Oliver in our bedroom. I came out to find my fleecy polka dot robe over the back of the desk chair and the desk spread with chocolate chip banana walnut muffins on a pretty plate, apple juice in a pearly blue Cinderella cup, a handmade card, and stacks of new books (more about that later).
After I perused my new volumes, I sat out on the balcony and soaked in the cool quiet with my moon fairy blanket around my legs. I wrote in my journal with a metallic forest green pen. Later, my mom called, singing.
We met Dad and James (my brother) for lunch at Panera. I wore a cheery, short-sleeved cardigan with bright pink and purple stripes. I savored my usual Italian combo and a Caesar salad. Those cheddary croutons are amazing.
I gave Dad an early Father's gift: large prints and a book of some of Oliver's best photos. He and James gave me fun gifts (more about that later), and we each had a different dessert (carrot cake cupcake, cookie, chocolate chip muffin top).
Josh, Oliver, and I went to the mall, where I gazed around the tiny Sephora in J.C. Penneys. In the Disney Store, Oliver reacted to a toy as he rarely does. We promptly bought the big plush Jacque from Lady and the Tramp. Oliver grinned, reached out, and giggled at the whisker tickles. I bought myself a dark blue Tinkerbell tee with Spellbinding in silver. Though I've packed away most of my princessy shirts in a just-in-case box for baby girl James, I still gravitate toward them and keep a few favorites in my closet.
We went to Harris Teeter after Josh asked me what I would want for dinner. I picked out tiny toasts, sesame water crackers, somewhat fancy salami, and spreadable brie. I also got three boxes of broccoli and cheese couscous. We hadn't had that in so long, and it reminded me of happy times in our little Monroe duplex.
Dinner was delicious. I could probably eat those dinner snacks every day, both for the flavor and for the happy associations (I'll try to write more about dinner snacks at some point!).
I wasn't too sad about the end of my birthday day because my mom was coming on Saturday. I liked my birthday outfit so much that I wore it again. We were sitting on the balcony when Mom and Shane arrived.
They came in with gifts, luggage, and a giant cooler. Mom was wearing a beige top with wide, dark gold metallic stripes and a tiny diamond key necklace. Oliver was fascinated with the necklace. Soon, he was listening to Mom and holding her face in his dimpled hands.
When Oliver was ready to eat, Mom came with me to the bedroom and got right in bed to chat. She did that after my first surgery and after my miscarriage; both comforted me. The way she was so delighted over my recent blog post that mentioned her acceptance, I realized that we just don't always tell each other how special some moments, words, and memories are.
We went to two places I love: Ulta and Barnes. At Ulta, Oliver gazed at all the colors, and Shane opened candles for Oliver to smell. Buttercream was Oliver's favorite (of course). Mom and I worked our way around the store, painting our fingertips and the insides of our wrists with sparkle eye shadow, beauty balm, eye liner, and lip gloss. Mom also tried some self-tanner on her shins. We laughed like maniacs, teased each other, and gazed at the incredibly expensive Butter London nail polish.
Ulta and Sephora are like candy stores or toy stores--happy cravings, colors, and daydreams. I imagine, Would I feel pretty with this? Would I feel magical? Would this make getting ready or catching myself in a mirror more fun?
I took advantage of the Buy 2, Get 1 Free deal and got Healthy Sexy Hair leave-in conditioner (I've been loving the bottle I bought a while ago, as much for the teal and chocolate bottle as for my hair's new shine and brushability), color care shampoo, and color care conditioning treatment. I've been wanting to try the shampoo and conditioner even though they're expensive, and I kept telling myself I would get them for my birthday.
I got Too Faced Candlelight Glow Powder. The pressed chandelier is mesmerizing. Details like this are a big part of what I pay for (and gladly) with expensive makeup! I hoped it would be a slightly milder version of the very sparkly highlighting powder I wore early in my relationship with Josh (my face glitters in the photos of our first trip and first my-birthday together).
I won't give up my glitter, but I will go more subtle than this (twenty-first birthday)...at least on the face. Eyes are a free-for-all. And I don't understand why people fuss about glitter fallout under the eyes. I love it. Anyway, the Candlelight Glow is exactly what I wanted it to be.
By chance, I spotted a Lorac lip gloss and tried it on my wrist. I've almost never bought expensive lipstick or gloss, but this impressed me. Mom agreed that it was special, which usually seals the deal (she's less susceptible to my enabling siren song). I had some birthday money from my grandparents, so I went for it. At the register, I found these little polka dot palettes with lip glosses and glitter eye shadows. I never buy palettes that have both together--the eyeshadow dust gunks up the lip gloss. But these, wisely, had sturdy clear plastic lids that fit over each section. They were under $4 each.
We next went to Barnes and Noble. I'm not over the wonder of actually having a Barnes within fifteen minutes of our house. Mom held Oliver up to dance on the new release table (what better picture of joy than that exists?) and showed him Legos and puppets. I took cell phone photos of interesting books (it's easier than trying to scribble down titles and authors). Though I probably have more blank journals than I'll ever use (I don't want to admit that), I allow myself to buy truly special ones and to buy them on special occasions or while I'm traveling. When I remember, I write in the back cover how I got them. This art nouveau (my favorite art period) journal was in the bargain section, and this journal with the C. S. Lewis quotation was like a paper flutter of hope.
We went swimming later, and Mom got to see how wild and ecstatic Oliver is in the pool. After the boys had gone to bed, Mom and I stayed up past midnight talking like best middle school friends. It was awesome.
The next day was Father's Day. I gave Josh a funny book he'd requested. The rest of his gifts had an art theme; some were for him to enjoy alone, and some were for him to enjoy with Oliver: a giant coloring book from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Knock Knock I'm an Artist drawing pad, 642 Things to Draw (prompts from everyday objects to ideas like dignity), and a One Sketch a Day journal. I try to encourage Josh to draw.
We went downtown to Pierro's. I had a Shirley Temple, of course. The restaurant had exposed brick, large lighting fixtures, and scattered art. We took turns playing with Oliver on the white vinyl benches in the lounge by the bar. He squealed in hoarse joy at the red glass tiles on the walls. Maybe red will be his favorite color.
After lunch, we walked, stopping at the fountain for Oliver to splash and at Linear park and the library. We went into Center City Books, full of used books, local art, gorgeous glittery birthday cards, and antique desks. Mom found this book. The description makes it seem a bit wild, so I'm not sure what I'll think. In any case, it looked beautiful in the gold starred and swirled bag.
Here are several beautiful photos Josh took as we walked.
I think this love on bricks one should be an album cover or something.
These days full of fun and special details send light out into the difficulty that tends to come later. I try to hold that light close.