An Ode to my Precioussssssss

I have survived turning 45.  Normally, age is not an issue for me.  The days leading up to the grand event did not portend impending doom, or even anything that mattered.  Growing up in my family, birthdays for children were of no consequence.  Actually, anything having to do with children was considered of no consequence.  My father used to think he was so witty, saying “Children are cabbages.  They’re not worth speaking to until they are educated and old enough to carry a reasonably intelligent conversation.” Such lovely sentiments that no level of brain-fog can erase from my aging brain, unfortunately.  On the plus side, the family I have been lucky enough to choose for myself, believes in Love and more Love, and my husband and I pull off some amazing family birthday celebrations.  That said, I still have a difficult time getting excited while anticipating my own birthday; I focus on our family tradition of the Birthday Boy or Girl giving a gift to each member of the family.  It makes for a very fun round of opening gifts at the breakfast table. And the rest of my birthday energy is spent preparing for the others’ birthdays during the year.  

So the days leading up to my big day were uneventful – only peppered by my silly husband grabbing my face in his hands and declaring, “I can’t BELIEVE you are going to be 45!!!  45!!!  So Old!!!” several times a day.  He’s two years younger than me, so he likes to think of me as a cougar.  Puh-leeze.  Between the face-grabbing and his jumping up and down with glee over some secret surprise, it was hard to ignore the looming date.  My oldest daughter, Emmy, was also home from university.  She must have been in on the secret too, because they would occasionally make eye contact, then giggle and clap their hands. Silly people.  

All I wanted for my birthday was something so enormously extravagant that I knew we couldn’t afford it. It was something so over-the-top I couldn’t even mention it out loud. Since I am a practical person, if I want something I know I can’t have, I try to put it out of my mind. Why think about it, if it isn’t going to happen, right?  Window shopping?  I hate it.  Why go into a store to look at stuff if you don’t have the money to buy it?  Some women love diamonds, some love shoes.  I like those things, but I LURVE technology.  Nothing puts a gleam in my eye like reading about processor speeds and RAM…sigh.  Over the years, I have been slowly seduced to the Dark Side by Apple.  It started with my first iPod Shuffle, and led to my iPad and my iPhone5.  Occasionally, I would surf the Apple Store site and illicitly drool over the Mac Books, closing the windows if someone were to walk by—feeling like I’d been surfing for porn.  But instead of splurging on big tech toys, we decided to help our children with university, and I had to settle for my old Dell laptop, keys sticky from my husband’s honey-bread mishap and his spilled latte.  First World problems, right?  Just close that window and move on, Sue. If asked what I wanted for my birthday, I replied, “plants!”

6:30am on the morning of February 22nd (yes, we get up for birthday celebrations BEFORE breakfast on school days) and I am gently kissed awake.  I open my eyes to the family singing Happy Birthday in the dark.  Quietly, my little boy puts his hands on my eyes and leads me through the dark to the kitchen, where pink and red streamers float from every surface, with pink and red hearts dangling all around.  The dining table is covered with gifts on one end, and our traditional German birthday candle ring on the other.  The birthday candle ring is a wooden circle, with holes to hold candles and little wooden pixies with felt clothes and hats (we call them our mannschgerl).  Instead of the number of candles needed to celebrate my birthday, the family made the smart move to light a “4” and a “5” candle.  More singing, and a very strong cup of espresso, had me sitting very happily for a few minutes, while my husband made me breakfast.  Then, the gifting began.

This was the year of scarves for me.  I am not a very fashionable person, but my good friend, my daughter,  and my big sister have unwittingly put an end to that!  I now have silk scarves, pashmina shawls, and floaty concoctions to drape for every occasion.  Look out, Jasper, I am changing the dress code… 

In between my lovely gifts, I handed out tickets to my family’s favorite hockey team’s game in Calgary, some love cups (the only kind of coffee cups we like in this house), and a iPad Mini to my oldest daughter (another addition from the cult of Apple).  I smiled because they smiled, and my heart grew bigger and bigger.

Then my husband made me cry by giving me a coffee cup that he had decorated himself.  A homemade love cup.  On it, he’d painted hearts and a love poem.  That was that, I thought.  The perfect ending to my perfect birthday.  I should have noticed the children holding their breath…and my husband’s suppressed smile.

Opening the wrapper on the box they handed me, I saw the words, “MacBook Pro.” No.  That couldn’t be right.  Blinkblinkblink.  The box still read “MacBook Pro.”  I thought maybe a pair of shoes wrapped up in MacBook Pro box?  A HaHa gift?  Lifting the top of the box, I saw the glow of brushed aluminum, and the apple…that yummy yummy apple…Christmas in February!!!!  

I am still in awe.  The touch pad, alone, is a wonder.  The retina display should come with a choir of angels that sings “Hallelujah!” every time I open the laptop.  This is all very bad.  I think Tolkien was mistaken.  Gollum wasn’t corrupted by a stinking ring.  He was given a 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display on his 45th birthday.  And soon he forgot about his Love.   He forgot to make dinners and pick up kids from school.  And he shriveled up and moved into the underground caves of the dwarves.  I’ll make sure to leave my forwarding address to his spare room…jussst don’t give it to that filthy Bagginsesssssss.  What.  Did you think Ode to my Preciousss was about my husband?  What husband?  All I can see issss my Precioussss with the 2.7 GHz processor and the lurvely retina dissssplay…

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