This week was a big birthday week around here- there is so much cake I'm not sure what to do with it anymore. Not only did someone turn a big 1, but I turned 28, the day before her. 48 hours of birthday is a lot of birthday, it can easily go horribly wrong, but the day was fantastic, not really extraordinary - though we did have a fairly special dinner (crustaceans were harmed, and I don't feel guilty at all- I did feel a bit guilty but then the first morsel of meat hit the butter and the guilt was all gone).
Part of what made the day fantastic, I think, was that I had clear expectations for it and I communicated those expectations to the one who could make it happen (in some cases that person was me). I usually sort of dislike holidays, well, maybe just the holidays that I'm not supposed to be in control of- Valentines, My Birthday, Mother's Day, I live for holidays where I can make cakes, and decorate and control the food supply. I like to do things that make others feel special on special days and I have often felt like I shouldn't do that for myself, that's it's in poor taste or pathetic or something. This birthday I ignored that feeling and it worked great- I used my lovely cake plate and pitcher, we ate from the good china dishes, I made the best birthday cake ever- the one I usually make for other people- upside down ginger nectarine cake (recipe forthcoming)- and it was oh so tasty, and pretty. And when people say "you made you own cake?" disbelievingly, (or pityingly) I have just said yes and smiled because the day was honestly how I wanted it to be.
I don't know for sure if the presence of my daughter makes me more grateful for the little aspects of a regular sweet happy day, and more able to keep my expectations in check but I do know that one of my favorite parts of the day was taking her upstairs after dinner to give her a bath while my Mom and Husband cleaned up the dishes.