A Healthy Birthday


I turned 37 on Wednesday, and really there wasn’t all that much to it.

My 33rd Birthday was my Crucifixion of Jesus Birthday. My 34th Birthday was my Kirby Puckett / Walter Payton Birthday. My 35th Birthday was my Presidential Birthday. My 36th Birthday was my Middle-Aged, Middle-of-Nowhere Birthday.

And honestly, my 37th Birthday didn’t feel that much different from my 36th Birthday. I have no special personal connection to the number 37. No special connection to the age. A friend sent me a link to a website with dozens of factoids about the number 37 –and it was fun to browse all the different entries — but even at that, there was nothing about Birthday #37 that really jumped out at me as especially meaningful, at least not like the numbers 33, 34, and 35.

In any event, my 37th Birthday felt nice and normal. A healthy birthday. Just like a healthy human body that maintains a constant temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.

The only real problem with my birthday this year was the weather outside. Brutally cold. Again. Just another day in this exceptionally long and strong winter. Other than that, it was a really nice birthday this year. The kids all remembered my birthday from the moment they woke up and made a big deal of it (The card at the top of the page was created by my youngest, Cor, and it pretty much made my day. The misspellings, which he underlines when he realizes they’re happening, just like at school, only add to the charm).

School and work went on pretty normally for most of the middle part of the day — though I took myself out for an indulgent meal at Five Guys Burgers and Fries (for an introvert like me, this is good stuff). In the latter part of the afternoon, however, Marci and the kids came on campus and joined an English Conversation group I was helping to lead with some international students.

They brought my favorite kind of brownie to share with everyone in the class, and we all sang the American “Happy Birthday” song with the candles and everything. In addition to the brownies, we had some Jordanian doughnuts, called Awamat. And two of the Arabic-speaking students sang an Egyptian birthday song, which was followed by the Asps doing the Dutch “Lang zal je leven” song for everyone to hear. It was really fun. A couple of the international students even brought some small gifts, which I really appreciated.

After the English Conversation group was finished, Marci and the kids gave me a couple of hand-made cards and presents — which were all perfect. Then we took the kids to our weekly “Babysitting Night” (where H2O students watch all the pastors’ kids, so we can go out for dinner as couples). And Marci and I then went to Carrabba’s Italian Grill, which is one of my personal favorites. I took the day off from dieting — and ended up consuming 2406 calories beyond the typical 2010 calories I’ve been allotting myself — but it was lovely. Nothing fancy, mind you. Nice and normal.

For a 37th Birthday, I’d say it would have been hard to script a better celebration, really.

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