Birthdays, a ballgame, and a world of thanks…
It is technically still my birthday with just 15 minuets left as I sit here writing the dogs are sound sleep and quite frankly even though I am exhausted I find the words easy to write as I reflect on my 41st birthday.
It has been a pretty amazing day that started with sharing coffee with my mom as we watched the dogs rip and run in the backyard. My sweet mom gave me a card that is whole other blog post just waiting to be written and most importantly I got to spend some time with her as my day was going to be a busy one.
I could not ask for more support in my world, the people in my life amaze me day after day with the sacrifices they make, my choices they support and the unconditional love and friendship they offer me. I get to work and find Scott and the Ramburgler (Matt Ramler) have decorated the office with signs, streamers and a whole lota birthday bling! Nothing like a group in the arts to make the office look like Liberace and Boy George had a love child…it was fabulous! There is morning work to be done but there is also visit from friends dropping off gifts and to be honest, it felt a little like Christmas in June this year.
There were flowers from Deb and Lindsey and a “Sodastream” from Matt so I can make my own fruit flavored seltzer! New Reds gear from sweet Amy and the kids in the form of some very cool t-shirts and a t-shirt from Scott and his wife Andrea from when Scott went to Boston two weeks ago for a friends wedding. Scott is a big baseball fan like I am and he caught a game at Fenway while he was there and as a result I am the proud recipient of a awesome Fenway Park T-shirt! My favorite notecards from Patty, wine from Judi and the best gift of all, a lesson in what it means to have a group of people help you through the day, when it traditionally could be a food fallout.
Birthdays and food go together like, well icing and cake. It is generally a get out of jail free card for moderation, healthy choices and indulgences it is not only encouraged but expected. I wrote in my last post about feeling the pressure of food all around me, about being weak and how an addiction to food is a little different. Many times those of us who struggle with it are forced to figure it out and simply walking away forever free from the firm grip it can have on you is just not an option. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are always gonna be waiting for you.
For several years my whole crew at work would organize an indulgent lunch filled with all kinds of amazing food where calories do not matter and the more cream cheese the better. I would generally eat through the day and at the end of the night pay the price for the next month or two of self loathing. Scott did not let that happen this year, and with the help of Judi and his wife Andrea they put together a delicious and healthy lunch that was amazing, there was crazy good salad and broccoli slaw and grilled chicken with a strawberry relish, guacamole and veggies, baked chips, and of course there was cake. Now I have written about my love of cake, and probably my favorite cake in the world is made by one of my season ticketing staff, Judi. I am not sure what she does to her cakes but they are dreamy goodness on a fork. She normally bakes cakes for everyone who has a birthday in the summer, but told me early on that there would only be one cake this year and it would be to celebrate the birthday of Lauren (the twin) and myself. She said I could have any cake I wanted…well that would end up to be more work than I am sure Judi was prepared for because soon after in the mail I received my “Best Cake” issue from Saveur magazine with a picture on the front cover that still makes my mouth water. I slipped it into her mailbox at work (I have no shame when it comes to cake) and left her to do her magic.
Yesterday one of the best surprises was that Lindsey came down to join us for lunch! Who better to have there with me to celebrate, mostly because we have grow to be great friends and that it’s hard to make bad choices when I know what she sees go into my mouth and will be rectified in the form of interval training on the treadmill with her tomorrow! Just as we were getting ready to eat the fire alarm in Music Hall went off, as I thought about the possibility of a fire, my instinct was to reach for the cake (just in case) as we evacuate but the eyes were upon me so I just kept walking.
Divine intervention for me to take a moment to think about what I was about to eat? Maybe. When the all clear had been given we made our way back to the spread and I filled my plate with small portions thinking about what was going into my mouth. We all sat together and chatted and laughed and as I sat surrounded by my twin, my friends and my new life, it was overwhelming in the best possible way.
Cake time was perfectly executed as I did not have much time before an afternoon meeting was to start so when I cut my piece and you know who was standing next to me (at my request) as my idea of a “small piece” was not exactly the same as Lindsey’s. I make a mark in the cloud of frosting and I move the knife over about, ohhh 4 inches and Linds looks at me and says “uh, no.” So I try again a little smaller the response is “just how much do you want to run tomorrow?” I seriously thought about it but then quickly moved the knife in to about 1 and 1/2 inches and looked over…with that sweet smile on her face, I hear…. “That’s good!” I cut into the soft dreamy cake and take a moment to smell it and then dive in…it is even better than I thought possible. Seriously the best bite of cake I think I have ever had. Maybe because it was free of the after taste of shame.
The work day moves forward and later that night a bunch of us go to the Reds game. It was a stunning night on the river!
I had talked to Lindsey about what the plan was and the plan did NOT include peanuts, popcorn, crackerjacks , hot dogs, coneys or beer….or any of the other food coma offerings that you must mortgage your house to purchase. A whopping $14 for a tiny hot dog and beer! I was going to take food but I didn’t, not sure if that was a mistake or not at the time. Bob and Melinda meet us at the park with Mike and Matt and the Ramburgler, we would meet up with Lauren, Kate, Ellen and by the 5th inning we were all sitting in the ballpark havinig a blast on a gorgeous summer night. The Reds won the game despite Mike and Matt being decked out in their Pittsburgh garb (those boys are from the burgh, they can’t help it!) and rooting for the rally from the Pirates that almost happened…ALMOST. In the end I would like to think in some silly way the win was a birthday gift from my Dad. All around me there was beer flowing and hot dogs, and nachos dripping in cheese after making such good choices, feeling content and grounded in the day and all the love and support the one thing I bought at the “store” they opened this year at the ballpark….was an apple. One dark red juicy apple and as I comped on it and looked at Lauren she shot me a look that she understood and I looked over at Matt and said EVERYTHING tastes better at the ballpark including my $2.00 apple!
Two sips of beer from Mike and Matt (they are identical twins so it is unsettling to not balance it out) and that was my intake at the ballpark. What really filled me up for the day was the enormous love and that continues to surround and amaze me. I am not alone in this battle, not by a long shot. I also realized that missing that one person you long for is not a reason to shut down and hold your head underwater in sorrow, in the end you only hurt yourself. If you don’t have what you want, want what you have….and I do.
So very grateful for all the gifts in my life, on my Birthday and everyday.
Tomorrow we run!
Ps. ….It is national running day today, who knew! Thank you Billie for letting me know!