Birthdays, in my eyes, have always been a big deal. As a kid, it meant I could have the front seat in the car and none of my siblings were allowed to fight with me all day. In middle school, it meant a dessert of choice and a party in my backyard, complete with bonfires and Capture the Flag. In college, it meant a surprise party four years in a row hosted by my dear roommate- each one planned with a new twist to keep up the shock factor. My whole life, I have been a firm believer that each person’s birthday should be fully and completely celebrated. Birthdays present a tremendous aberration from the doldrums of every day life- an excuse for spontaneity and fun. Birthdays are a person’s once-a-year ticket to escape the ordinary, to be free from responsibility, and to eat sugar all day long without counting a single calorie. I associate birthdays with new dresses and candles and a box full of scrapbooking surprises.
This year marked my very first birthday as a married woman. Knowing the importance and solemnity with which I regard birthdays, you can imagine that I was more than a little skeptical about how this birthday would go. This was my first birthday with Andrew just the two of us, and I was a little concerned that he would fail to grasp the enormity of the situation of the fast approaching August 31. Worse, I didn’t really know how to approach the situation without sounding completely vain. To outright ask for a birthday celebration felt borderline desperate. But, I felt that this birthday needed to set a precedent. For a girl who once made a paper chain counting down days to her birthday, I couldn’t very well just forget that it was coming up, nor could I resign myself to dull and lifeless birthdays for the rest of my married life. Trying to send hints Andrew’s way, I resorted to telling long stories of birthdays past at the dinner table while his eyes glazed over, and displayed a “All Hail to the Birthday Queen” singing card from my mom conveniently in his office so he could see it at all times. With that, there was nothing else I could do but wait.
As usual, Andrew did not disappoint. Twenty Three marks the year I celebrated TWO birthdays.
Day one of my birthday included homemade cinnamon rolls (made by Andrew), a new desk (built by Andrew!), singing (performed by Andrew) and beautiful gifts from those I love most (thank you for being so thoughtful and generous!).
Day two included more homemade cinnamon rolls and more singing (Again by Andrew- he’s a trooper), and one of the most exquisite experiences my Birthday has ever known- Afternoon Tea at Keswick Hall, a beautiful resort near Monticello. To put it simply, it was one of the most magical afternoons known to my memory, including all the things a good birthday should have: lots of laughter, an exciting adventure, a new dress, and a good cup of tea.
The hall itself was beautiful:
The food was delicious! We were presented with a three tiered platter of delicious treats, including mouth watering chocolate chip scones, cucumber-cream cheese sandwiches, lemon tarts, and shortbreads.
And the tea- that was in another class entirely. Endless rounds of loose leaf English Breakfast Tea were poured from pewter kettles into beautiful china cups. Each sip was purely divine.
All in all, it was an afternoon of dreams. I was so excited the whole time, and so thankful for the person across the table from me. Thank you Andrew, for making my birthday one for the books- I’ll never doubt you again!