Happy Birthday to…


Happy May first everyone! Please, keep voting for me at

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Today is a birthday blog. Not my birthday, but the birthdays of three awesome women in my life. I want to tell you a little about each of them by way of wishing them the happiest of happies. I’m going to present them to you in the order they came into my life, with a note that it would be impossible to classify them in order of importance. They’re all amazing.

Judy

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Judy.  Judy was the first of Scott’s sisters whom I got to meet in person, at her son Ryan’s 1st birthday party. (Ryan is now turning 13, for the record.) Scott and I had been dating for all of not-quite two months, and she had the grace to extend me an invitation to come up to her house in the Cleveland area all the way from Lexington. This meant she was inviting her brother’s girlfriend, a total stranger, to spend the night, when she was already going kind of crazy trying to plan her son’s first birthday. That right there takes some courage.

 A full-fledged-card-carrying-feminist, at that first meeting she was as interested in making sure that Scott didn’t pull anything sexist in front of her son as she was in the birthday party. In other words, I’d never met her before, and from day one, she had my back. She wanted to be sure her brother treated me well in front of her family.

She had an outside-of-the home job until her daughter Meghan’s birth. Then, she did a short stint as a stay-at-home Mom and ultimately obtained a position that allows her to work from home. She fights the battle that all work-at-homers face – convincing the outside world that the tasks completed in her office are yet real work that must be scheduled and completed. And she still has to juggle her kids’ active school and sports schedules! I’ve gained so many parenting and life-skills from her that I long ago lost count, and I look forward to our entirely too-infrequent get-togethers.

She and Scott have this teasing relationship that makes me laugh every time they see each other. They both think fast on their feet, so they’ll sling zingers and keep the rest of us in stitches. Scott mocks Judy, who deflects him with her own humor, and they get along well. For that matter, Scott and his three sisters all get along well. And they get along with me, too, for which I’m so grateful.

So happy birthday, Judy. I hope your day is wonderful and filled with laughter. I hope you get a few stress-free moments and a glass of your favorite wine at dinner. I hope your husband and kids are sweet to you, and I hope you aren’t too swamped in work to celebrate. I’m grateful to have you for a sister-in-law, and I hope we see each other soon.

Melanie

The next May first birthday belongs to my favorite Montessori teacher, Melanie. Melanie came into our lives when Sam was in her class. Sam was a biter. OK, that’s an understatement. Sam had gotten mixed up about his sports somewhere down the line, and he thought biting was the national pastime. The kid bit everyone, and no amount of gentle consistency from the rest of us made it stop. Melanie reassured us, “I have ten years of experience at this.”

I told her,  “but you haven’t got any experience at all with Sam.”

I think she was mildly appalled when we invaded her classroom before the start of that year to replace all of her electrical plates with ones Sam couldn’t defeat yet. She had a couple that simply had childproof plugs in them and a couple of others with the plates that could only be opened using an appliance’s electric cord. But Sam had mastered those already, and the only thing he couldn’t stick his dexterous little fingers into were the ones that had to be twisted before they could be used. Melanie went with the flow and allowed us to make the change without complaint.

And as for the biting, we started having parent meetings about it right away. “He’s not being mean about it!” she said. “I’ve never seen a kid do this before.”

We nodded.

“He snuggles up beside me all loving, then all the sudden just chomps down!” The day we had that particular conversation, he’d taken a hunk out of her thigh at circle time.

Yup. That was our Sam.

“He’s doing it to get attention,” she said.

Un-huh.

So she started heading him off before he could bite, finding other ways for him to get attention and express love. She adapted her teaching style to Sam’s learning needs. And she does that for every single kid who comes into her classroom. It doesn’t matter what behaviors the child displays, and it doesn’t matter how long she has known the child. She loves them all, and we parents love her in return. A mutual friend calls her the toddler-whisperer, and I can’t say I disagree.

So happy birthday, Melanie. I wish you a peaceful day with your husband and sons. I hope the sun shines and you get to play with them. I want you to know you are one of the best people I’ve ever met, and your gentle nature and caring personality are truly unique and wonderful.

Linda

The third May first birthday I’m celebrating is that of my friend Linda. I met Linda because our sons are in school together. The first time I really noticed her, she and Melanie were talking. I invited myself to the conversation and realized the three of us thought a lot alike. Several months later, Linda and I were moving our sons to the same new preschool, and we went through the enrollment process together. We clicked instantly, spending as much time laughing as filling out paperwork and keeping the new school’s administrator giggling, too for the whole forty minutes that it took us both to complete four pieces of paper.

We soon became workout buddies, and I have Linda to thank for my newfound obsession with Zumba. I hated the first couple of classes, but she kept me coming out of loyalty, and as I learned the songs and moves, I really started getting into the process. I find it a lot easier to turn Zumba into real-dance in my head than I do my other aerobics class, dance party.

Linda is also teaching me how to decorate cakes, a skill I yearn for but have never even thought I could possess until now. She’s got mad skillz with an icing bag, and enough patience to teach basic competency to even an impatient student like me. Sometimes, she’ll just look at me, and I’ll know I’m rushing some essential process, and then we’ll both break up laughing, because that’s what good friends do together.

So happy birthday Linda. You are mentioned last in this list, but you are far from the least of my friends.  I wish you a day of fun with your husband and son, and I hope your son behaves for you. I hope you get to continue the weekend in the same style you started it, with friends, family, and treats. I hope every calorie you consume evaporates instantly by way of wishing you birthday greetings, and I hope you find lots of calorie-filled noms to devour. My life is richer for having you in it, and I hope to know you for a long time.

To conclude this birthday edition of my blog, I want to say there are many wonderful people in my life. Even if I never write about them, I think they know who they are and how special they are to me. Having three of them born on the same day seemed too much fun to pass up in writing, and I hope they all have marvelous celebrations.

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