I step out of the car, the chill in the air taking me by surprise. I hurry inside and take my jacket off. The kids troop in and I help them with their jackets and boots. Soon they are seated at the island and drinking warm milk. I walk upstairs to change into my PJs.
Even as I splash water over my face, I realize that the clock has run out. My time as Cinderella is done. I freshen up and hit the ground running. Dinner is soon cooking and I relive the day as I saute okra.
For years, I treasured the fact that the world celebrated my birthday. Today, I understood what it meant to have so much joy pervade the house. Watching my daughters’ faces light up as they dug out toys from the stocking or ripped open wrapped gifts to uncover more treasures, I stood transfixed. Getting gifts is good but watching loved ones open theirs is even better. The warmth and the light from the tree suffused the morning with good cheer. Hours went past ably assisted by squealing children and so much make-believe that I no longer cared who was the parent and who was the child.
We drove to the local food place that was open to a buffet lunch and returned home with full tummies and sleepy eyes. As we flopped on the sofa as a family and watched TV, the energy from the morning gave way to a malaise that fell us one by one. The evening saw us at a temple enjoying the peace and quiet radiance that comes from a place of innate power. Bowing our heads, we left knowing our day was touched by the divine.
The entire day felt surreal with wishes from far and near. Virtual and tangible. It felt good to be celebrated and loved. For a day, it was good to let go of routine and embrace the unexpected.
Doing the dishes after dinner, I realized my day was over. The magic was quickly fading and soon all I would be left would be the memories.