It’s my birthday, and I have to admit, this morning I was feeling pretty glum. Josh hadn’t bought me anything, my kids were, well… normal small children who were more concerned with what they wanted than what I might like my morning to look like, and my hopes of something coming together to surprise me on my birthday (like a job offer maybe?) unsurprisingly didn’t happen.
My usual upbeat self had trouble masking my disappointment. Tears pooled, determined to overflow no matter how hard I blinked, and I walked silently, a few paces ahead of Josh, so he wouldn’t notice how sad I was as we shopped for the week’s groceries. I bought myself a bar of honey soap, some organic shampoo and a fuzzy brown sweater with a woolly lining. I continued to mope after we got home.
Josh apologized profusely for not getting me anything.
“I didn’t think you’d be so disappointed. I hate disappointing you,” he said, as he pulled me in for a cuddle.
“You didn’t have to buy me anything. Just a gesture, a letter – anything – I would have been happy with a rock with a drawing on it.”
He disappeared upstairs while I made myself some breakfast, and when I headed up, he presented me with a card.
“You didn’t even give me a chance,” he said.
Then the phone calls started. After hiding in bed for a couple of hours (I literally hid under the covers), I went downstairs to discover that I had missed calls from both of my parents. Then one of my best girlfriends called. I told her how down I’ve been feeling, how hard it is not having found work. I told her that I feel like I’m not successful and she cut me short.
“Lauren,” she said, “you are successful. You have two awesome kids. You had your kids early, so while the rest of us (she’s a lawyer) are working through our early thirties, you’ll have your nose to the grindstone when you’re 35. You’ll be working long days and you’ll make all the money you need then, so don’t worry about it now. Enjoy your kids while they’re little, take the maternity time you need, and stop stressing. Keep your chin up. It’ll all work out. You’ll see.”
My dad, who called about half an hour later said pretty much the same thing. “If work isn’t happening, then it’s not happening. Don’t stress, enjoy your time in SA and things will work out.”
He also told me that he and my mother decided the best birthday present they could give me is cash, so they’re going to be paying for my birthday dinner.
Josh and I are going on our first date of 2014 tonight, and I couldn’t be more excited. The Pot Luck Club is owned by one of the top chefs in South Africa and their tapas menu is divided into tastes: sweet, salty, umami, sour and bitter. The food looks gorgeous, and the restaurant happens to be at the top of a silo in an old biscuit mill (now called The Old Biscuit Mill) and has incredible views of Cape Town.
I’m feeling better now. The love of friends and family has helped me to scramble up the side of the ditch I’ve been sitting in. I have new ideas for entrepreneurial endeavors and new focus for my writing. I have also decided to take the day off – something I can only do because I’m freelancing. On the suggestion of a friend, I will now walk along to beach and sip cocktails in the sunshine. Happy birthday to me!