Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday dear, Amy. Happy birthday to me!

That's right everyone! I turned the BIG 28 years old this year. For whatever reason, being 28 doesn't seem too different from being 27. I think a lot of that has to do with Ryan being older than me. In fact, he's going to be the BIG 30 this year. :) Of course I have already started planning his big day. Afterall, they say that your 30's are the best years of your life, so I want to make sure his birthday starts off with a bang.

I digress.

This is about MY birthday!

Before I share what happened this year, let's go back one year, ok? Last year on my birthday, Noah was only 8 months old. I was still breastfeeding and was READY for a break with my husband to celebrate my birthday. Well, he got sick - really sick - on my birthday. He somehow got the stomach flu and was getting sick all day long. I was stuck hanging out downstairs with Noah all day feeling sorry for myself. I mean it - I was really angry! It was supposed to be MY special day, and Ryan goes off and gets sick. How selfish! I know these thoughts were irrational, but this is a good picture of what was going through my head at the time. Birthdays mean a lot to me. In fact, I usually like to celebrate my birth week! No, I am not kidding. When I was growing up, your birthday was a big deal. It was your special day where you go to pick what you wanted for breakfast, your brother wasn't allowed to touch your presents, and you got to choose whatever restaurant you wanted to eat at for dinner. I usually picked my favorite - PONDEROSA. Again, I am not joking. I've come a long way in where I choose to eat dinner; however, my selfishness and "poor me" attitude were pretty similar to my 8 year old former self.

Ok, so that was last year when I turned 27.

On January 1, 2010, Ryan and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. Looking back on where we were when we started and where we are now, it was incredible to see how much we've grown in the past 5 years. Marriage is hard work at times, and I was excited to celebrate our anniversary in style! Remember my blog about winning the Traincar Package? Well, we had big plans to cash in our certificate for a night on the town, even if it was freezing outside. Soon after we got home from celebrating New Year's Eve at Tim and Beckie's, Ryan was complaining of a stomach ache. He had drank about 3-4 Pepsi's and thought that the caffiene was making him sick. We went to bed, hoping it would go away by morning. Well, I woke up the next day to an empty bed. I found Ryan downstairs on the couch. He had gotten sick SEVEN times through the night. We think he might have gotten food poisoning because about 16 hours later, he was completely fine again. However, our anniversary celebration was cancelled. Ryan once again spent the day in our bedroom while Noah and I played downstairs. Rather than repeating the same attitude as last year, this time I honestly felt ok about our plans changing that day. I knew he felt horrible, so I just enjoyed dancing and playing with Noah all day. I was even patting myself on the back like, "Wow, Amy! Look how much you've grown up since last year! Good for you!"

The following weekend, I turned 28 on January 10th, and we had some exciting things planned. We were going to go see Avatar in 3D at the IMAX theatre at 3:30 p.m., and afterwards, our friends Kevin and Dalia were going to go out to dinner with us at Scholar's Inn. Ryan and I had eaten there once before and loved it! We were excited to have a night out together with friends. Ryan's parents were going to watch Noah at our house (thanks again!), so they were all looking forward to time together, too.

Soon after John and Gloria arrived, Ryan and I left for the theatre. Avatar had been out for almost a month by that time, so I didn't bother to get tickets online. BIG MISTAKE. Ryan dropped me off to buy the tickets while he parked the car, and I quickly saw a HUGE line and the words "SOLD OUT" written across Avatar's 3:30 and 7:30 showings. I WAS MAD. I stomped out to the car with my arms folded across my chest. Remember all of that "growing up" I had done over the past year? Turns out, I still had some work to do.

We spent the next 20 minutes on our phones, trying to find another movie to see in the small window of time we had before we were meeting our friends for dinner. I'm sure there were lots of other great movies to see, but I wanted to see Avatar. I had been dying to see it since I saw a preview before the Michael Jackson movie, This is It. I WAS MAD - and I decided it was Ryan's fault.

He drove back toward Greenwood, and I was getting sadder and madder with each passing stoplight. This is what was going through my head: Ryan should have planned my birthday. I shouldn't have to invite our friends, find the movie time, buy tickets, make reservations for dinner, etc. He should be the one to do that. It's MY birthday. It's supposed to be all about ME. Now my birthday is ruined. I didn't celebrate it last year. We didn't celebrate our anniversary. And now we aren't going to celebrate my birthday...AGAIN. We should cancel our plans with Kevin and Dalia. Let's just go home so I can feel sorry for myself.

Ryan in the meantime was throwing out ideas to fill the time. He could take me to get a massage or a pedicure. We could go grab a glass of wine for me somewhere. We could have an appetizer somewhere. He could take me to a book store, and I could find a new book to read. All of these ideas I shot down - even though I tried to sound grateful for the thoughtfulness, I was still MAD.

These are the thoughts that were going through my mind next: Amy, you are a real loser. Why do you care so much about a day? Maybe you are missing the point of birthdays and anniversaries. Maybe your anniversary is a day to reflect on being THANKFUL for having another year of marriage together. Maybe your birthday is a day to be THANKFUL for getting another year on this earth with people you love. Maybe it's not about YOU. Maybe it's about something a whole lot larger than your expectations for how these days should be spent.

And that, my friends, is what I call feeling convicted. Tears fell down my cheeks while we sat there in silence. I had no idea what Ryan was going to do to "fix" the day. I felt horrible about my attitude, and yet I didn't know how to make it better.

Ryan pulled into Bonefish Grill, parked the car, and said, "We're having drinks." I hestitantly got out of the Jeep and walked into the restaurant. We sat at a nice big booth in the bar, and I checked out the menu. The waiter asked us what we wanted, and Ryan grabbed a soda, while I ordered a Pinot Grigio that Ryan thought I would like (and I did). I still had tears falling from my eyes, and I think our waiter was completely uncomfortable. He would stand about 10 feet from our booth and ask us if we were ok. It was hilarious, but I didn't laugh about it until a little later. There we sat, sipping on our drinks, and all of the sudden this really chipper song came on the radio inside the restaurant. You know, it was the kind of song that says "something is about to change for the better" while you're watching a movie. It was a happy little tune, and after about 30 seconds, I couldn't contain it. I just started laughing! In my mind, I knew the way I was acting was ridiculous, but in my heart, I was still really disappointed (this is where my passion gets in the way). Ryan was laughing, too, and asked me what I was thinking. I told him that I only saw two options moving forward. One, I would plan my birthday from now on - that way I could never be disappointed on MY day (remember, it's all about me, right?), or two, he could make a commitment to plan my birthday from start to finish each year. Ryan chose the latter - he's a great guy like that.

I then shared with him how convicted I felt in the car about my selfishness. It felt good to confess that ugly part of me, even though those moments are never proud ones. We asked our still-very-uncomfortable waiter if we could have some bread and laughed about how we would probably be the worst customers he had all night. I called my friend Dalia to give her an update about the movie. I told her how mad I was about the movie because I didn't want to have to "fake it" when we saw her and Kevin later that evening. She understood because she is a passionate person, too! I enjoyed the rest of my glass of wine while Ryan and I chatted about who knows what. His phone rang, and he said, "Oh hi Rob. Ok...yeah...all right. Well, let me just give you a call, and we can talk about that more on Monday." When Ryan hung up the phone, I asked, "Why is Rob (one of his brokers/friends) calling you on a Saturday?" He convincingly said, "I have no idea" while looking very confused. We were getting ready to leave, so he excused himself to use the restroom. I sat in the booth trying not to make eye contact with our poor waiter until Ryan returned.

Once he did, we got back into the Jeep and drove to Kevin and Dalia's house. They told us to just come over a little early, and we would hang out there until our dinner reservation. After spending a little time with them and their puppy, Max, we got back into the Jeep to head downtown. Kevin said, "Amy, there has been a little change in the plans." Internal dialogue: ERRRR!! SCREEECH! What change? I don't do change! Kevin continued, "Well, we are still going to have dinner at Scholar's Inn (phew!), but...afterward Dalia and I are going to go back to your house and watch Noah so that you can go see Avatar in 3D at 10:30 p.m." We haven't known Kevin and Dalia very long, but I could've kissed them both! My once considered trainwreck of a birthday was right back on track! Turns out that the phone call from "Rob" was actually "Kevin" offering to watch Noah so that we could see Avatar.

We drove to Scholar's Inn and had a delicious dinner! Ryan and I ordered the Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer and the Filet Mignon (with BeChamel Macaroni & Cheese, Pomegranate Red Wine Demi Glace, Fresh Herb Salad) for our main course. The food was seriously OUT OF THIS WORLD incredible. That filet ranked in my top 3 steaks ever - seriously. Macaroni & Cheese is my middle name, so that was an added bonus for sure. Dalia and Kevin were great company, too, and they seemed to really enjoy their food, as well. We were cracking up because Dalia's "Crisp Lattice Potatoes" that were served with her skirt steak turned out to be some waffle fries, just like the ones from Chick-fil-a. So much for fine dining - hilarious!

Anyway, we drove back to Dalia and Kevin's for a bit and soon after said goodbye so that we could make it to our movie with plenty of time to spare. We had already bought our tickets on the way up to dinner, so we were good to go there. Although we arrived 30 minutes early, the theatre was already PACKED. We were lucky to find two great seats and relaxed until the movie began. Seeing Avatar in 3D on an IMAX screen was seriously out of this world. The story line is incredible and the images you see are amazing. However, seeing a movie like that in 3D turns a story into an experience. I thought the movie was breathtakingly beautiful! I loved every single second of it. I especially loved the spiritual aspect of the movie and found it interesting that the Na'vi (people who live on Pandora) worship a God called Ai'wa (pronounced Ah-way), while the personal name for God in the Hebrew Bible is Yahweh (pronounced Yah-way). The movie focuses a lot on how Ai'wa is everywhere around them and can be seen by looking at the plants and living creatures on Pandora (their planet). I like to believe the same is true for us: God is everywhere around us if we just open our eyes to see Him. The movie touched my heart on so many levels, and in addition, I was entertained from beginning to end! We left the theatre around 1:15 a.m. and made the short drive home. We thanked Dalia and Kevin for helping make my birthday so special and said good night!

The next day was my actual birthday. Ryan brought Subway home for lunch after church, and I opened my gifts. I'll write more about them in a future post - he did great! Noah, Ryan, and I went out for dinnr at Unos Chicago Pizza, one of my favorites where we rarely go, and celebrated my birthday with dessert first and a deep dish pizza second. Ordering dessert first is my favorite! Noah behaved so well all evening, and the waitresses loved him. My birth-weekend was a HUGE success, one that I'll remember for years to come.


Mandy said...

Happy birthday Amy!!

What a wonderful story. Man could I ever relate in your feelings. You have an amazing husband and you are totally normal!! I hope you had a fantastic day!

Leah said...

Love your post! I'm right there with ya with the birthdays. Glad it turned out great!! Hope to see you soon!

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