This year, my birthday started off with a great deal of promise. It was a crisp (almost) autumn day, and the sun was shining. We didn't have to go anywhere - always a bonus for this homebody - although we were planning to go out for dinner in the evening.
But then, I had a child who was coughing. Actually there were two of them. One whose job it was to set the table for breakfast, and he apparently felt so badly that I let him lay on the couch and rest. The other cough-er was my toddler, who is almost always difficult as I'm prepping breakfast anyway. And so, I found myself doing extra chores with a fussy toddler on my hip. Then I noticed that my back was hurting.
But things didn't really get bad until just after lunchtime. Suddenly I was coping with horrible muscle spasms in my back. This was a nearly paralyzing pain, which rendered me pretty much incapable of doing...anything. I'll spare you the details, but it wasn't pretty. In fact, it was all fairly ugly. I'm pretty sure I put up more of a fuss than I do during labor - first stage, anyway. (*wink*)
Still, it was terrible pain. I could do very little for myself, and it took Jeff and I a good 20 minutes to figure out how to get me off the couch...it just hurt so much.
And that's how the day went. Gone were our plans to go out for a celebratory dinner. My only goal at that point was to avoid or minimize the pain as much as possible.
So obviously, that aspect of my birthday stank.
But there were sweet moments, too.
My oldest son was very concerned. He stayed very close to me during the afternoon, calling his dad (who was coming home early, but didn't get home for a few hours after my distress began) and helping me as much as he could. At one point in the afternoon, he asked if he could pray for me. So precious!
My daughter patted my arm, smiled reassuringly, and said, "It will be okay, Mama. It will be okay." I wonder how she might do as a sort of child-doula...?
And then there is my sweet husband.
I cannot even begin to tell all the selfless things he did during my time of back trouble. He helped me use the bathroom. He convinced me that moving (off of the couch...onto the bed...) would be a good thing, even if it did hurt to bend myself. He helped me maneuver in and out of the bathtub, which was torturous. He served us all meals and took care of the kids. Time after time, he blew me away.
And that's just Thursday. There was so much more that he did over the next few days. He was amazing. A rock star.
He brought me flowers. And then moved them to where I was throughout the weekend, so I could enjoy them even while stranded on the couch.
There was a lot of time to read and watch "Call the Midwife" on Netflix. So there was that....silver linings and all.
But yeah...not the best birthday. In fact, it may actually be my worst, though the one when I turned 19 was pretty lousy too.
(I haven't even mentioned the fact that I couldn't have a real birthday cake this year, although there are certainly worse things to endure.)
I lived through one of those "worse things," though, and I came out on the other side. With the grace of God and the love of my family, I survived.
Next year, it will be different. Lord willing, it will be different!