This birthday was filled with funny little stories.
It began, as all my birthdays have, with my mother singing happy birthday to me.
By the way, my mother is tone deaf.
She called me at work right at 8 am. I pick up the phone and she goes right into it.
My Mom: Haaaaaaappppeeee buuuuth-day tuuwww-uuuuuu... haaapppeee buth-day tuwwww-uuuuuu... Happpeee buthhh-day deera Chiiiiinnnnnooooo.... (etc, etc)
Chino is my nickname. Has been as long as I can remember. No idea why. All my family members (with the exception of my kids and husband) call me Chino. Even my brother-in-law calls me Chino. My niece and nephew call me Chino. Aunts, uncles, cousins... My brother didn't even know my name was Najla until like 6th grade.
My brother-in-law calling me Chino kinda bugged me for about 2 years. Then I got over it and now it seems natural. I've decided that when I become a grandma, I will want my grandkids to call me Chino. I mean, Grandma Najla? Ew.
About two minutes later - my trainer called me. He is a great guy - funny as hell. I pick up the phone.
He sings happy birthday to me Marilyn Monroe style. I threaten to put him on speakerphone.
Which reminds me, I did put my mom on speakerphone.
As the day progressed, I got cards, chocolate, AND 24 long stem roses from the hubby. Wow. Who knew turning 42 was such serious business?
Living with five men means lots of talk about body parts and bodily functions and smells like a mixture of maple syrup, urine, stale potato chips and sweat.
But being the lone female in the pack also means being treated like a queen. Especially during birthday week. The festivities began early in the week - with small, daily, handmade gifts from the 6 and 9 year olds.
One day, Ethan ran to me with a package all wrapped up in holiday paper... and lots of Scotch tape.
Ethan: Mom! This is for your birthday!
Me: Wow! What a pretty present! But it's not my birthday yet, Ethan.
Ethan: I knowed that. But this is your present. Open it!
It took a while to open it. Scotch Tape does not rip easily.
Me: Wow! It's a calculator.
My calculator from the kitchen drawer.
Ethan: Do you love it?
Me: Of course I do.
He kisses me and bounds off to wrap... who knows... maybe the egg beater.
By Monday, I had received at least a dozen drawings, small paper gift bags decorated with tissue paper, handmade envelopes filled with small cut out shapes and people, and letters with "I love you," from the little boys. Seeing their younger brothers lavish me with their handmade projects of love left the older ones promising something "special that I am working on."
In the meantime, three of the four came down with the flu. Also a lovely present.
The evening of my birthday I arrived home and walked into a dark and strangely quiet house.
Two seconds later, the lights come on, the five men jump out and yell "Surprise!" Most of them still in their pajamas.
Evan, 11, accosted me first. He made me a small pillow - one side Green Bay Packers and the other Vikings.
Evan: "I put the Packers on one side because they are NDSU colors."
Made total sense.
Evan: I made this for you to sleep with.
Evan: You will?!
Paul looks at me like, "Really? Now I have to share you with FIVE pillows?"
I did sleep with Evan's handmade pillow that night and I told him so the next morning. He was beaming.
I was treated to a fantastic Italian meal - and I mean FANTASTIC. The table was all set with candles. I got the special "You are special" red plate which Ethan was quick to point out.
Ethan actually purposely works towards having the "You are special" plate almost nightly. He'll do anything for it. I was surprised he was even willing to let me eat off it.
After dinner came the cake. Eight candles to which Ethan explained, "Mom is eight."
The boys sang an original arrangement rap version of "Happy Birthday" to me. Paul caught that on video which I will have to post soon.
Zach gave me a card that read on the outside, "I love you" and when you opened it read "THIIISSSS MUCH!"
Zach: It reminded me of what we used to play when I was little.
Zach: Didn't you use to say, "How much does mommy love you?" And then you and I would put our hands way up in the air and say "Thiiiissss much!"?
Me: Yes. We did.
Zach: So - that's what this card is.
I mean - really. What the heck more could I want in life?