Turning the BIG 4-0: SUUUUURRRRPPPPRRRIIIISSSSEEEE!!!!!!
Written by Stephanie's Chutes and Ladders on April 21, 2013
“We’ll, I wasn’t exactly telling you the truth…” Those were my husband’s last words.
They danced in the air and barely had time to linger. Music pulsed from the next room and pulled us in with no hesitation. An unspoken confidence filled the place. The ultra chic setting of this night club meant this mom was out on the town and far away from cotton-only clothes and messy fingers. There was promise of a good time ahead. Two lonely suspicious champagne glasses awaited our apparent arrival. Who can say no when gorgeous bubbly is gracefully offered when entering a room? It was as if those two glasses were meant only for us… patiently awaiting our arrival. The whole crowd turned as we entered the darkened room. A pang of self-consciousness ran over me. (Who wouldn’t, right?) “Why didn’t I slip on that Tara Jarmon dress again?!”That was all that rushed into my mind. Spotlights shown down onto a couple of familiar faces. What…???? How? Then, the lights went up.
PAUSE (a mere split second).
SUUUUURRRRPPPPRRRIIIISSSSEEEE!!!!!! “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”
Complete shock consumed me as I scrambled to understand what was happening. I was unusually speechless. Motionless. Frozen. My pulse shot up through the gorgeous club ceiling. I didn’t faint, whew! I didn’t fall over either, but my hand covered my mouth in disbelief and I bent over as my body riled to take it all in. Sensory overload. My eyes bulging, I could only say, “WHA..?!” A smile bigger than the Big Apple took over my expression. Over sixty beautiful souls from across our whole Swiss life came to celebrate my milestone birthday. It was none other than my husband, the clever mastermind, who pulled this off executing it with flawless Swiss (clock) precision. (He IS Italian, remember?!) I didn’t scream thankfully. I am a classy lady after all. All I could utter as everyone filed towards me pouring on the goodwill and cheer was, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it!!” and “WOW!!” My heart and pulse still racing.
I was deeply deeply honored to know that for well over one month my husband had rounded everyone up for la grande fête. I just saw my gal pals two nights before. How did I not suspect anything was in the works? My mind and pulse raced like the speed of a Formula One driver. My surprise reaction was completely genuine. The whole effort and up to the big surprise were all a real success, and I just kept saying thank you. GRATITUDE. Thank you to my sweet husband. Thank you to the many friends many of whom had to arrange a babysitter during that final weekend of the long Easter week. In other words, not a given at all. Thanking God or whichever higher power for the showering of adoration and celebration, and for the luxury to just live in THE moment. Mindful gratitude. The positive energy floating along with the waves of the pulsing music couldn’t be bottled. No natural force could possibly capture or contain it all. That night will live on in my mind and forever fill me with smiles giving my pulse a reason to sky rocket.
We danced the night away and I reveled in the club’s gorgeous chic setting in downtown Zurich. I was the Queen of the Day (quoting one of the fab birthday cards I received) and this was OUR private party. How many times in life do you have a top-billed DJ in such surroundings, endless champagne flowing, and good friends ready to party and celebrate with you? Unless you’re Paris Hilton or anyone of the glitterati crowd then you’re probably like me: it’s not very often in fact!
This outpouring from friends and more specifically and genuinely from my husband will always stay with me. I had been feeling a bit of joint pain earlier that day from my RA, but I knew we were set to go to a club that evening (happens so seldom that I was just looking forward to dusting off my dance card!), so I made sure to take an afternoon nap and drink lots of water for stamina. He had told me it was a bon voyage send off for someone I barely know. I just agreed to be his date and that was that.
The real joy in all of this is that I had made no real plans for this banner birthday. I had had in mind to organize a girls’ long weekend get-away (still in the cards!) at some point later in the year, but hadn’t gotten around to planning anything exactly, and certainly not, on that scale!! I lowered my expectations and just let go of any pre-conceived ideas or pressure to make this big round birthday over the top. You know how it goes. I think of it as trying to find that perfect New Year’s Eve party only to fall short… almost every time because expectations are set unrealistically (high).
Since the beginning of this new year, I decidedly relaxed my mind and chose to be more in the present. Living each day. Enjoying my son and being through with the terrible twos. Managing pain waves and set backs as they came and went and come and go. Taking in the growing reality that our life here in Zurich may come to a close as we begin a new chapter in Geneva. At no other point in my life have I been more present with myself. Where I am. How I feel. What I want and what I choose. Real bliss. Turning the BIG 4-0 means for me: fabulous, fun, fortunate, family, friends, fit, FORTITUDE, and… memories for forever!
By the time we crawled into bed that night it was well after 4 o’clock in the morning. Yes, we can still feel young! Any parents of little ones will appreciate how out of practice our bodies and stamina are to fathom lasting that long. I’m not 25 after all. For it’s not so much the night out BUT who’s going to take care of our little one when he awakes in only a few hours? I NEED SLEEP! Oh, the realities of parenthood. I eventually drifted off to sleep only after convincing my stubborn blood pressure it was now time to rest and recover. Let go and let the party live on in my soul.
I did awaken a few hours later with pulsing, throbbing pain in my knees. Oh, RA. Go away! I had so much fun please don’t dismay!
Thankfully, the pain subsided and the next week was set up for fun. Afternoon tea with the girls at an upscale 5-star hotel. A facial and relaxing massage. An impromptu informal breakfast with my husband and dinner with just us three at a lovely French bistro that night. I can definitely say I am “birthdayed” out this year! I’ve chosen “Bliss and Bling” as my new mantra. What do you think? Now, let’s keep the champagne flowing, please!