Hmm. Had a birthday yesterday. My 39th. It actually wasn’t that bad! I mean—it was actually good!

I had been dreading it. Really dreading it. I didn’t want to step over into that age. One year away from 40 is scary territory when you are wanting to become a mother and struggling with fertility. I had pictured being inside that two weeks of waiting for CCS results, right now, quietly rooting for my frozen embryos to pass the test, having something to hope for as I turned 39.

Instead, we are, in many ways, back to the drawing board.

I woke up on my 39th birthday sad. I cried a little bit. “I thought this year was going to be different,” I said to DH. “I thought I was going to get to stop working so hard at this. I thought I would be pregnant soon after turning 39.” And a long list of other “I thoughts”—that phrase signifying what I expect and am attached to.

Then DH said, “You are my favorite thing in the world,” cradling me, looking down at me like I was his baby.

Then I got a lovely email from my mom.

Then I had to get ready for work.

Then I walked into my office and saw a lovely bouquet of flowers on my desk, from my boss! And a card in which she had written: “Having you in the SW office is so wonderful–you are a breath of fresh air. I am so glad you took this job. We are lucky.”

Then she snuck the SW staff out of a meeting and the four of us ate birthday muffins in the cafeteria. My boss got me carrot, my favorite.

Then at lunch, they ordered out at my favorite local restaurant and paid for my meal, and again we spent the meal together in the cafeteria, talking about our lives. They asked me a lot of questions about myself. I felt special.

THEN, in the afternoon, I am sitting at my desk when the security guard comes up to the door and says, “You have a visitor,” and I see an enormous colorful bouquet of flowers peek through the doorway.

Behind the bouquet is my “little sister” from the women’s circle, I’ll call her Arielle. “Happy birthday!” she said, and I squealed in delight. I was so surprised! I almost couldn’t believe she was standing there. I hugged her about a million times. We went for a walk around the nursing home in the beautiful winter light. She told me that when she got my email about feeling blue about my birthday, she wanted to make sure I knew that I was something to celebrate. She told me I was beautiful and strong and that she missed me and loved me. Arielle lives from her heart, purely, in a way I’ve never seen. She has the kind of generosity of spirit that knocks you down and humbles you and makes you want to be more like her. She is thinking of becoming a social worker, and she is going to be an amazing healer. As we walked, I talked. I told her all that DH and I are considering. I explained DE to her a little bit, and it felt good to be able to do that. I talked about adoption. She listened and asked questions. She is an incredible listener. God, it felt good to talk and walk with her!

I was pretty much beaming after that surprise. I added her flowers to the vase alongside the ones that my boss gave me.

Then I came home to another beautiful bouquet from DH. And a gift: George Saunders’s new collection Tenth of December–I had read one story of Saunders’s (in BASS) aloud to DH when we were in Denver. He remembered!

I also received in the mail a beautiful card from my mother that brought tears to my eyes, along with a new sparkly cream-colored dress with red cardigan trimmed in red velvet.


DH cooked dinner, and then he and I went to a yoga class together—and Sky happened to come to the same class! (The women’s circle series ended just before I left for Denver, but we all still keep in touch and will continue to meet.) It was neat to introduce DH to Sky, and felt so good just to see her, hug her, and talk to her again. We talked about her yoga teacher training in the city, and the meaning of savasana, and how she has one idea for future circle meetings: gratitude circles. An idea I’m really excited about.

We came home and hung out on our new comfy couch, reading. DH, excited like a little boy, said: “We’re hanging out in the living room! We never do that!” (This is the first time we’ve had a comfortable couch in our relationship—a very big deal.)

He asked me, as we fell to sleep, if I’d had a good day. I held him tight, feeling love zinging like warm light between us. I said: “Yes.”

Leave a comment


  1. LH

     /  February 1, 2013

    Happy Birthday! (sounds like you already had one)


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