Today was one of those days that I was absolutely, unequivocally, dreading.
The day I turned the big FIVE-O. As in fifty.
Half a century old...eligible for the ultimate Senior Citizen Status Club, AARP...and a far cry from my ebullient, carefree days of my twenties.
I cried. I gnashed my teeth. I threw myself down on the floor, kicking and screaming, fighting the clock that is ticking away on the mortality of my youth.
A few months ago, I thought the only way to tackle this dreaded milestone was surrounding myself with big, shiny stuff that would surely take my mind off the fact that I was now on the back end of the curve of life.
And hence the bright, shiny red convertible Mustang sitting in my garage - which has allowed me to feel carefree and young, if only for a moment - as I go barreling down the highway at high speeds, the top down, and my hair whipping wildly in the wind.
And hence the two-week Mediterranean cruise that the family embarks on tomorrow, first-class all the way, to take in the sights and sounds and gastronomical delights of a culture that is far, far older than me.
And yet, the last few weeks has found me reflecting on what is TRULY important in life...and what is truly the best birthday gift of all.
It isn't the bright shiny car, or the fabulous vacation...although don't get me wrong; I'm very, very grateful for the opportunities to enjoy them.
No. It's more than that.
The best birthday gift is tickling the grandkids as they come barreling at you for just "one more" Tickle Bee attack, after a delightful birthday dinner celebration....
The best birthday gift is reading the dozens and dozens of heartfelt birthday messages from friends, family and co-workers, via Facebook and email, and reflecting on each of the senders and how they've enriched your life....
The best birthday gift is being surrounded by my loving parents and siblings and nephews and nieces, as they shower me with good food, delicious cookie cake, and good-natured ribbing....
The best birthday gift is having a son who comes home from work and says, "Let's go shopping, Mom - for your birthday - anywhere you want to go...." and you realize that just the thought of that melts your heart....
The best birthday gift is receiving a birthday card from your 12-year old daughter, who writes in it, "You're not only the absolute best Mom anyone could ask for, you're my best friend...and I love you for all eternity"....
The best birthday gifts are a loving husband...loving children...loving pets...
And it came to me...
The best birthday gift?
It's all about the love. I feel very loved.
I think I'm loving turning 50.
Happy 50th birthday, to me. :)