Coffee with Coltrane

Sometimes life gets in the way of celebrating life.

Friday was my 37th birthday. The Tortoise got up earlier than usual on her day off and made me breakfast. It was an incredibly sweet offering for my birthday – waffles and a kitchen mess to clean up.

The Tortoise's culinary cuisine.
A little too much love.

When I came downstairs, the only thing really on my mind was coffee and the out-of-town guests that were going to arrive the next afternoon. My in-laws were en route from Texas, making the 25 hour trek by car, to stay with us over the next week of spring break. There was no time for celebrating. But I did stop for a waffle breakfast.

A masterful effort.

All four of us were home. I loved opening home-made cards and their thoughtful gift: a flip-style recipe holder for my box of computer print-outs and magazine tear-outs. My husband gave me my gift a week earlier, a new digital camera, so that I could use it over our gymnastics meet weekend. And that was that – the remainder of the day consisted of yard work for DW and cleaning, grocery shopping and high levels of entertaining anxiety for me. The girls decided it would be safer to hang out with friends all afternoon.

Birthday lilies.
There was no cake, no balloons, no party. DW did bring home some beautiful lilies for the dining room table but there just wasn’t any time. I’m really not complaining – life just gets in the way sometimes. Family and friends called throughout the day and were all surprised to hear that we had no plans.

” I have plans, ” was my rebuttal, “they’re just not fun ones.”

By the end of the evening we did manage to sneak out to Cold Stone Creamery, clad in smelly sweats and a baseball cap. I do enjoy celebrating birthdays – just not my own. Getting older only reminds me of all the things that I have left undone in my life. I dwell way too much on the things that I have not accomplished, rather than focus on the things that I have accomplished. I had a lot of time to contemplate these disappointments while scrubbing toilets. Sigh.

“Perhaps we’ll celebrate tomorrow, ” I thought over a sink full of Pine-Sol.

Well, it’s now Tuesday morning. Three days have passed since my birthday. Easter was full of dresses, an egg hunt in the house, dinner and the beginning of a huge house project. (I’ll get to that tomorrow.) It has been non-stop sound and movement – an everyday musical theater production. Riffs and runs of cascading laughter and conversation. But I have been missing the refrain. My schedule is twisted and unrecognizable. It is no surprise why The Hare is the way she is – so is her mother. I need consistency.

So here I am, stealing a moment in my bedroom, computer on my lap – coffee at my side listening to John Coltrane. Here, in this moment – the soft sultry sounds of “After the Rain” drown out the hours and calm the spirit. Raindrops speckle my bedroom window, tiny prisms distorting the view over our front burm.

I can see tiny green day lilies popping up through layers of black mulch around budding Bradford Pear trees. New growth on rich green Bird’s Nests contrast against deep red berries of the Barberry bushes. There is life among the fallen leaves and small traces of winter’s darkness. There is beauty and blossoms if you know where to look. There are birthdays to celebrate even when life tries to get in the way.

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