Sunday, June 22, 2014

38 Special

A few days ago I turned 38.
The day flew in and back out, but it left me feeling strangely wizened. I'm probably just grasping for straws again, but I'm inclined to believe nothing is wasted. There's value in everything, including the birthdays that seem like such a non-issue, you almost didn't even notice they happened.

To tell you the truth, it felt like a relief to have finally hit the age where I don't secretly hope for some fuss. I was left with two of my littles and a day with no agenda. It was up to the three of us to make the day a good one.

So that's what we did.

Here's some 38 Special wisdom for you: If you have 3 kids spaced pretty closely together and all you want in the world is for them to get along, but it seems like a total pipe dream, just send one of them away. It appears to not even matter which kid goes.

Remove the opportunity for covert triangulation. #winning

I took a muggy bike ride with the two littlests and Charles and ended up with the makings for a super fun craft. (I cant' talk about it right now because it's June and no one's reading blogs and I lose my will to write on a daily basis, so what I'm saying is, this is not the time for killing two birds with one stone. This is the time to milk the fodder.)

That sounded gross.

Our hands stained with rogue, city mulberries, we took a lap by the park then back home again for turkey-on-wheat.
The splash pad directly across the street from us languished woefully underused by the Martins last summer. There's no excuse. This summer, I'm determined to wear it straight out. It's nice to traipse over without the expectation of having to LOVE IT SO MUCH. We can go for an hour and walk back home if we want to. Plus, it's free. Plus, it's riddled with neighborhood kids.

Plus, there's a giant walnut tree for moi.

I brought a stack of books and loved every page.
I underlined with reckless abandon. I got goose-bumps in the early summer sun.
I took a birthday selfie and totally didn't plan the whole "I tip my hat to you", because who would do something like that? My claws have minds of their owns.

Here's where things get really good.

We came home, had popsicles, and settled in for some couch potato-ing. The sky was cloudy, but not even a little grim. I had wild plans to fold laundry then read for an hour...when, without warning, the atmosphere loomed navy blue with a greenish cast. There was much branch snapping and leaf whipping.


I can't make you understand my love for summer storms.
I can't possibly convey my fervor for power outages.
The three of us sat cuddled on the couch with Siley's fortuitous flashlight bounty spread around us like a promise.

It was the best gift EVAH.

Because I'm some kind of lucky, Cory's mom offered to keep the kids so we could have dinner out.

We picked our favorite place in town, the fancyish Venturi.
If I could eat there every week, I would.

I mean, they char the bread. Expertly.

I don't think of myself as someone who cares about this sort of thing, but the servers all have very enviable haircuts. It helps, somehow. It nudges the experience up a little.

It's settled: this is my favorite person on the planet, and I'm not just saying so because he agreed to split a pizza in order to lessen my unnecessary-splurge guilt.

After dinner we walked to the coffee shop and grabbed coffee (him) and a slice of chocolate tunnel cake (duh), my birthday luck spilling over the rim in the form of a rad concert at Ignition Garage that was loud enough for us to enjoy from the patio at The Brew. For free.

After all that, we hit up Kroger for tampons and Sensodyne toothpaste, because thirty-eight.

I won't say that I feel older, and I won't pretend to feel or be The Best I've Ever Been.

What I will say is, I'm learning every day. I'm circling in on what I need, the things that are most life-giving. I'm trying my best to walk in truth, to remain teachable, to hold opportunities for humility like gifts in my arms.

I'm less apologetic for the things I'm not.
I'm less prideful about the things I am.

I'm less inclined to project someone else's expectations onto myself.
I'm more inclined to give grace (even to me, on a good day.)

I believe long walks at comfortable speeds keep a world of late-night salsa-eating in check.
I believe another chapter is usually more valuable than a sparkling sink basin.

I look forward to spending the year with my fine, new mate.
This is 38.



  1. Happy Birthday! Enjoy and be blessed. My sister turned 39 in April and went home to Jesus on June 8th after a 5 yr fight against breast cancer. Take each day and be abundantly thankful. Blessings

    1. I'm so, so sorry. Such a reminder to focus on what matters.
      Hoping for peace for your family tonight, Lolly. xo

  2. THE BEARD IS GONE!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! (and the rest of the world... *wink*)

  3. I love the selfie! But mostly I love your heart and how I learn something new for me every single time I read your stories. I am 20 years older than you and still learning and loving the new me that shows up every so often! Thanks for your words…and happy birthday!

  4. Hi, looks like you had a full day of fun and such, love how date nights can end at the grocery or hardware store and not even bat an eye. Here's to an incredible year.

  5. I believe another chapter is usually more valuable than a sparkling sink basin."
    Amen Sister! Clink to that! I so do that!
    Happy Birthday!

  6. I turned 38, three months's all good though my lung did spontaneously collapse last month so 38 might mean the body takes a turn for the worst. Ah, never mind...I'm sure you will be fine. :)
    Happy Happy Birthday to my favorite blogger!!!

  7. Happy Birthday! Sounds like a perfect day to me! I love summer storms, too. I go out into our screen porch until I am terrified and run back into the house. I hope my 54 year old self never outgrows this silliness!

  8. Sounds indeed like a wonderful day!

    I totally agree that going from 3 to any 2 changes the whole dynamic! Crazy, but true!

    You are not showing up in my feedly for some reason. Anybody else? just me?

    1. Thanks for the alert! I may have goofed something up a couple months ago when I switched over to .com from blogspot?? I'm so bad at this. Have you had this problem for a while or is it brand new??

    2. It's a recent problem. The last one that showed up in the feed was on June 14.

    3. It's not just your blog. I'm not seeing recent posts from other bloggers as well. I think its a Blogger feed issue... or something. No worries. :)

  9. Happy 38th birthday, dear Shannan! Your words are a gift to me, so I wish you'd come visit so I could present you with gifts: iced tea in the porch swing flanked with red geraniums and begonias; a trip to the mountains (the Appalachian Trail is minutes from our house); sharing my daily lunch of hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, and melon at the kitchen counter; and a visit to the local salvage store...oh, oh!

  10. happy belated, my girl. you have enviable armpits. love you so much and ever.

  11. Awww, I know it's very belated but happy birthday! We share the same year - '76!

    Love you hair and wow, your husband now has a 'stache! That food looks heavenly and now at 3am I am craving pizza. ;)