Sunday, September 9, 2012

A lovely day.

When I wake up in the morning, love
And the sun light hurts my eyes

And something without warning, love
Bears heavy on my mind.

Then I look at you 
and the world's alright with me

Just one look at you 
and I know it's gonna be . . .

A lovely day

~ from Bill Withers' "Lovely Day"

I don't really consider myself a birthday-ey person. Wait--don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm a wet blanket when it comes that day. I welcome some celebration and love receiving calls, texts, messages and (duh!) gifts. But what I mean is that I don't generally drumroll up to it for the month before it. And I'm definitely not the kind of person that expects everyone around me to put it on their calendars as a national holiday.

I'm the same person who only has (real) birthday parties for my kids on years divisible by five and who (sort of) wishes the whole world would get on a similar schedule with their kids, too. I've also been known to think of someone all day on their special day but then smack my forehead almost to the point of concussion on the following day for neglecting to send a message or a call before the clock struck midnight.

Uhhh yeah.

One of my close friends called me yesterday, which was the day after my own birthday. We launched into a gabfest and, like usual, we asked each other for recaps of our Friday night since we'd played a bit of phone tag on the days leading up to it. We'd also missed each other in the hair salon which is often one of our main excuses for good girlfriend time. Anyways. Somewhere along the way I mentioned some of the swanky things that made up my Friday evening (courtesy of the BHE.)

"Dang, girl! A night in a hotel? It's like THAT? That's how Team Manning rolls on a random Friday? Daaaaang!" she teased.

"Well, my mom had the kids for the night. Well, actually the whole weekend."

"Damn! Ask your mama if she's looking for any more kids to be dropped off."

We both laughed. Then I sat there debating about whether or not to let her know what was obvious that she'd forgotten. It was like THAT because yesterday wasn't exactly a random Friday. It was my birthday.


This friend is a good, good friend. She is one of my go-to sisters for affairs of the heart and one that I trust completely. For the other three hundred and sixty four days of the year that aren't my birthday, she is wonderful. And now that I think of it, even on my birthday she's a cherished friend, too.

I was reluctant to say something because I knew she'd feel bad and launch into a looping apology. But if I didn't mention it, one of our mutual friends would and then she'd call me three days later with an even more vehement version of the first one that I was trying to avoid.

"What'd you do last night?" I asked changing the subject.

"Not much. My son had a late baseball game so I was caught up in all of that. Story of my life."

"It's so hard to believe he's in high school. I thought he was driving now?"

"He is, girl. But you know they like to still see mama at the game!"

We both laughed again. But then my luck ran out.

"So what was up with the hotel action? That Harry is the man."

"Oh. It was my birthday yesterday."

Silence.  Then, three-two-one. . .

"Your BIRTHDAY was YESTERDAY?! Oh my GOSH! KIM!!! I SUCK as a friend!!! I'M SOOOOOO SORRY!!!! AAAGGGHHHHH! I can't believe I did that!"

"It's okay, sister. I'm serious. I really, really am."

"No,  it's not. I suck. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry, man. Damn."

"It's fine. Really."

But it was too late. She was reacting to me in the way you react to birthday-ey people whose birthdays you've forgotten. Doo loops of sorrys and grand plans to make it up to them. And I guess for birthday-ey types that's very important.

But I'm not so birthday-ey.

So I told her. "Look. Here's the deal. You have been a wonderful friend to me for every single year of the last twenty-two years. This year we've remained closer than ever and I know that if I need you I can always call you no matter what. I care far more about the kind of friend you are to me on the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year than just you remembering my birthday."

And she still felt bad but said, "Thanks for saying that. But I'm sorry. I really am." Her voice was soft and quiet. She did feel bad.

"Harry always says to me that you have to pair up with the right person. Like, in your marriage you have to be with the person who meshes with you and who is easygoing about the things that are your quirks. They also have to be the kind of person that steps up for the things that really, really are a big deal for you. The same goes for friendships." She stayed quiet so I continued. "So you happened to pick someone as one of your best friends who doesn't hate you or haze you for not remembering the exact date of her birthday. Because she isn't so birthday-ey."


"Yeah. Birthday-ey."

"That's crazy, Kim. Who doesn't like their birthday? I know for a fact that you love having birthdays."

"I do. That's true. But I guess I don't see it the way others do. And no. I would not be okay with Harry forgetting my birthday but not because of my birthday. . .just more because if he forgot it--as my husband-- it would probably be a symptom of something more."

"Like being an asshole?"


We laughed some more.

So, no. I am not birthday-ey but I do like and appreciate having birthdays. I am also not married to an asshole, thank goodness.

And so. I had a wonderful day. I was delighted by every single acknowledgment and affirmation that I received that day. My heart was also warmed by the ones I received after.

It was a day that involved many of my favorite things. It started with hugs from my sweet boys. A kiss from my husband, soft and tender right in front of our boys who squealed and said eeeeeeew! I got to teach one of my small groups and was flooded with their well-wishes.

Jennifer D. from Small Group Gamma made me a cake that, I am now certain, was the most delicious one that I have ever had in my forty two years. And Leah from SG Gamma gave me a luscious bouquet of flowers.

"I love flowers!" I told her.

"I know!" she said.

Erica U. gave me three super packs of chewing gum (since I always take hers) and gave me a ride home from the med school which I appreciated just as much.

My Grady BFF Lesley and I threw on some exercise clothes and went for a nice power walk together. Then we had brunch at this adorably cute neighborhood bistro. We laughed and talked. We did our favorite things that we always do on the other three hundred and sixty four days. We also ate good food. And then walked it back off.

I met with Bryan O. about his residency applications and spoke on the phone with Sandeep K. about his fellowship interviews. And that part was good, too.

All day I received emails and text messages and phone calls from all over. I smiled at the many, many lovely comments from our blog community because that, too, was splendid because it let me know how fortunate I am to have this in my life.

After school I picked up the kids and took them to my (awesome!) mother's home and she greeted us all with a big hug and a big smile. She didn't want me to take her picture but I tried. After leaving them, I drove straight to downtown Atlanta where my dear, sweet BHE was waiting for me in a swanky boutique hotel suite.

Which was awesome. Partly because the room was lovely and festive and opened up to a perfect view. But more because it reminded me that the same guy who had done all of this was just as consistently good to me on the other three hundred sixty four days.

So dinner was involved. Reconnecting and reflecting was involved. Gifts were involved. But mostly love was involved. Rich, deep, authentic love.

And I woke up with a big smile on my face because yes, it was a wonderful birthday, but really it's a blessed life. Not perfect. But perfectly blessed.

So no. I am not birthday-ey. I will more than likely never fall out with anyone over missing my birthday. But miss or forget me repeatedly on those other three hundred sixty four days? I'd be far more concerned about that. Would it lead to us falling out? Hmmm. Probably not a true "fall out." But it would lead to some redefinition of the relationship on my end.

The point of all of this? Hmm. I'm not sure there really is one. But I guess I'm just saying that consistency is important to me. Reciprocity matters. Sharing those laughs is great and asking me to bear some of your heavy is fine with me as long as sometimes you're okay with holding on to some of mine. Because that's what authentic friendships and relationships are built upon--consistent reciprocity.

And that? That takes a lot more than just a single day to create. And, at least for me, a whole lot more to destroy.

Happy Sunday. I hope yours is a lovely day all year long.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .what I think about and care about all year long.


  1. Dr M, you are one of the most gorgeous people I know - inside and out. You absolutely deserve that 100% authentic love and I hope the rest of your 364 days (or 365 since this is a leap year ?) are as special as this one was!


    -- Tara

    1. Awww! Tara you are always so super sweet! Thank you, as always, for your very kind words and thoughts year round! I'm glad you're here.

  2. Happy Belated Birthday! Looks like you had a great day and weekend! Blessings for many more!

    1. What a great name--Kurlylicious! Thanks for the well wishes--'preciate you!

  3. Sorry, I missed your birthday. I'm glad you had a grand weekend!

    P.S. I had to write a rebuttal to this post on my blog.

    1. Hey Nancy! Loooooved the rebuttal. Hey y'all -- if you want to read a lovely post and some lovely writing (albeit a rebuttal tee hee) please get right over to Nancy's blog. Here's the post:

      Or you can just peep my blog roll where she can be found!

      A REBUTTAL! Woo hooooo! I have arrived!!!!

      xo, KM

  4. Ahhhh, sweet tea in a mason jar. It doesn't get any better than that!

    1. Excuse me, mother, that was unsweetened tea with Splenda being stirred into it. We had just exercised, remember?

  5. Despite you not being a B-day person, I hope it was a very happy one. And, since birthdays are good reflection times, thanks SO MUCH for all the hard work and thought you put into this wonderful, inspiring, totally kick gluteus maximus blog!

  6. I hope you had a happy birthday despite yourself!

    I love your blog, it has become one of the few non school related must-reads in my life.

    Many of us out here in the blogosphere are glad you were born.

  7. It looked like a wonderful birthday, you are blessed indeed. Happy belated birthday from a new blog reader.

  8. Y'all know how to keep love alive.
    Which is the best gift of all.

  9. Happy birthday! I have a friend who has always lived far away from me. We send old fashioned snail-mail birthday cards to each other. At some point we both started forgetting until it was too late and would then send a belated card. There's a lot of funny belated cards out there. Now we just do it on purpose!

  10. Happy belated birthday! Sounds like your day was perfect for you and the blessing in that can't be denied!

    ...and I love me some Mr. Bill Withers! I shall switch to his Pandora station right now :)

  11. Happy belated birthday ma'am!! Sounds like you had a fab day that was perfectly in line with the way you live your life. Cheers for many more!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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