“They say it’s your birthday… Well, it’s my birthday too…” Beatles 1968

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!!!  (Shameless I know but still…. I love birthdays!) This last trip around the sun has been, well… eventful and pretty darn good. Two knee surgeries, name change, son engaged, lots of beach trips, new friends, and old friends, and lots of time with my kids… All in all, a good year with the promise of an even better one this next year!

“Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90… Time is a concept that humans created.” Yoko Ono

Speaking of being with my kids, this past weekend was moving day 3.0 as we moved my older daughter and son-in-law to their beautiful new home. Been a busy year for moving in our family. First my son moved to a new apartment in Charlotte but did not require the moving services of the family! WHEW! Then we moved my younger daughter to Charlotte in July. Following weekend we moved my older daughter and son-in-law from their house, which sold very quickly, to an apartment, until their new house was finished. That day finally arrived Friday. Maneuvering around a few glitches, which turned into true blessings, we loaded up their moving truck Friday, and unloaded it at the new house Saturday. We, meaning two 60-something moms, and three 30-something kids. Moving my older daughter this past weekend meant I got my sitting room, garage, and basement back, (they were storing all of their furniture and worldly possessions at my house), just in time to decorate for Christmas. But more importantly, moving them meant I got to have some precious time with my daughters (son was at a wedding and missed all the fun this time!).

“A house is made of walls and beams, a home is made of love and dreams.”

This weekend’s move brought my younger daughter, whose birthday was Sunday, home to help. So thankful to have her here and celebrate her birthday in person. I try to see each of my kids on their birthdays. Even though we were rather exhausted from the big move Saturday, she and I dressed up and went downtown for a glass of wine at one of our favorite little bars, and then walked to our favorite eclectic restaurant for a birthday dinner. We talked, laughed, caught up, and just enjoyed being together again. Came home late, planning to watch a movie, and both fell asleep, me in my faithful recliner, and my daughter on my comfy couch. Slept there all night long! True sleepover. Gosh I have missed that child.

“Best Childhood memory… Falling asleep on the couch and waking up in bed. I miss teleporting. It never happens to me anymore.”

Her birthday celebration continued Sunday when we met my older daughter and son-in-law for brunch. And since the birthday girl had not been to any wineries since she moved, we decided to hit a couple while she was in town. Met some of her friends at one. It was a good birthday for her. Hated to see her leave but knew I would see her again this weekend (last home football game). So thankful for these wonderful opportunities to see my kids!

This week is my birthday WEEK y’all, which means that in addition to celebrating, I had all of my annual “female” doctor appointments in one morning, including the dreaded mammogram. Like to schedule these each year in my birthday week – habit. Already have them scheduled for November 2020! When I first moved here 22 years ago and started seeing this doctor, the mammogram technician put heating pads on the metal “clamps” that squeeze the bejesus out of women’s tatas. Helped to take away at least part of the total discomfort of having a mammogram. I mean, those metal clamps are cold! But the fire department ruled it a fire hazard, and the heating pads disappeared, forever. Hmmm… wonder if the firemen had to have their personal “jewels” in the mammogram machine, would the heating pads still be considered a fire hazard?!?! No matter the discomfort of these doctor appointments, go. Don’t skip those annual exams. Make your health a priority. It’s important.

“There’s no such thing as aging, but maturing and knowledge.” Celine Dion

After my morning of being prodded, poked, stuck, and squeezed, I had physical therapy for my knee. And GOOD NEWS!  I got my diploma – the “Return To Running” paper! Left PT with my diploma and headed to Williamsburg, VA for a 3-day business meeting and decided to start the program that afternoon since I was in a beautiful place for running. Well, running is stretching it a bit, more like WALK run WALK run for 30 minutes. But I was so thankful and so happy to be able to do this little bit of running. A return to normalcy. And to top it off, Christmas lights were all around me as I ran. Life is good!

I read an article recently that said “people who put their Christmas decorations up earlier are happier.” I truly believe this, as I have always decorated early. And I am one happy camper at Christmas. I may have put out some Christmas decorations last Sunday. Ok, I did start decorating for Christmas. As my younger daughter was pulling out of my driveway to head back to Charlotte, I was bringing up bins of Christmas decorations! My older daughter and son-in-law will help me get my tree tomorrow. So why are these “crazy” people who decorate early happier? Nostalgia… decorating brings back memories of your childhood, or of a time when you still believed in Santa. For me, Christmas is a special feeling, a good, warm feeling, when people are kinder. I love all the lights and decorations. When I moved to my new house SOLO, I decided it was time for a fresh start with decorations, and bought some new ones. New tradition. And even though that first Christmas was a bit hard, I was still happy. Had my new decorations, along with some from my childhood, but more than that, I had my kids with me. We kept a few of our old traditions, but also started some new ones. I can’t wait to get my tree tomorrow and smell that wonderful fraser fir tree scent in my house. I put my tree up in my open family room where I see it constantly from every part of my house. Makes me happy.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions –  give off the greatest glow of happiness.”  Bob Hope

Unlike the “not wearing white after Labor Day” rule, there is no hard and fast rule about the proper time to decorate for Christmas. If it makes you happy, I say do it and do it early. We all need whatever it takes in life to make us happy. Maybe you are happier NOT having a Christmas tree and not dealing with those tangled Christmas lights. That’s ok too. If you are finding it hard to find your joy this Christmas season, look for someone to help. Could be a family to sponsor, a charity, a family member, or a friend. I promise that will perk your spirits up quickly. Don’t wish away the season, instead cherish each day, look for something that makes you smile, be it a tacky Christmas sweater (mine are coming SOON!), or a beautiful Christmas wreath. Be generous with your kindness, be patient with others, and be thankful for every day because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

I am off to celebrate my birthday y’all! Every one is more important than the last! It has been a great day so far. I have loved all the birthday wishes, texts, calls, messages, and surprises! Thank you all (all y’all)! Had balloons when I walked into the meeting today and my son-in-law (at the same business meeting) delivered a vase of lovely flowers from my older daughter. More to come – I am stretching this birthday out for quite a bit and looking forward to every minute!

Best,

Leslie

PS – did you know that this past Monday, November 18th, the sun set in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, and it won’t rise again until January 23rd. That’s 66 days with NO SUN y’all!! One reason I do not live in Alaska – that and the COLD! (info from Ed Piotrowski WPDE, Myrtle Beach, SC) So, not sure which is worse – the name Utqiagvik or the no sun… ok, no contest – NO SUN wins!

 

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