Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What's So Happy About A Birthday Anyway?

Sometimes I feel like the absolute worst person in the world. Someone does something "nice" for me and I pick it apart until it's no more appealing than an animal carcass left to rot in the hot desert. Here's what I mean...

Yesterday was my birthday, the big 26. Yahoo. I hate my birthday. Every year. It has nothing to do with age. Obviously I'm not over the hill yet or anything. But every year I am so depressed on my birthday. I have this major inner struggle going on. One part of me, the idealistic part, which honestly rarely rears its ugly head, perks up and begins singing about how great the day will be. It looks forward to countless phone calls from well-wishers, a towering birthday cake, loads of presents, the whole shebang. And the other side, the side that I know much better, the realistic side, tells Miss Idealistic, "Shut up already!" "Don't you know there are still children starving in third world countries today?!" "Today is not about you." And usually the day goes accordingly. A few people will call which is always appreciated, but basically the day comes and goes just like any other. I lay my head on my pillow at night and Miss Realistic and I are happy enough knowing that we were right. The day really wasn't about me.

But yesterday was a little different than usual. Heath (my husband for anyone who doesn't know, although I know Monica is the only one who actually reads this!) took my birthday into his own hands. I was completely satisfied and cynically looking forward to a day of glorious uneventfulness. I knew I was having a party on Friday anyway so if I wanted any consolation, there it was. On our way to pick up our daughter Chloe from school, Heath pulled into an expensive salon and day spa and just dropped me off. Oh wait. Before he left me there he hands me a wad of cash and says "Here. You'll need all of this." I was...well, I don't know if there are words to tell how I was feeling, no perfect words at least. I felt shocked, confused, undeserving, frustrated, unprepared. All good words, but as you can see none of them are good feelings. So I go to check in and the lady tells me what I'm in for...gourmet lunch, a massage, a facial and a pedicure.

Now don't judge me just yet. I, like any other sane woman on earth, love to be pampered and all those treatments on your birthday sound like a good plan. But let me let you in on a little background. My husband is in the process of starting a new business, and if anyone has ever started a business before, you know what this means - Poverty.

I must be honest and tell you, I really enjoyed the spa treatments. During the process, I actually thought "This should be an annual tradition." I felt pampered and relaxed. It was great. But then it was over.

I had to pay. Pay...that is such a small little word for such a huge amount of money that I handed over to the smug woman behind the counter. $230 to be exact. It pains me to type it. I immediately began a running list of sensible things I could have bought for the same amount. Here's what I've come up with so far:
1. a new couch (sure, it would have to be cheap, but we're part of that home club and it could be done)
2. a new haircut and color ( In my own cheapness I ruined my color recently)
3. 25 movie tickets (That's a date every month for a year)
4. Bills! (Don't even get me started here)

I'll show restraint and stop here on the list. So fast forward to today. I obviously am not over the spa experience. It's pretty ironic isn't it? My husband sends me away to be pampered so I will be able to relax and 24 hours later I am stressed beyond anything I've felt in a long time. It's not that I don't appreciate the thought, I do...mostly. It's just so much money for something so intangible, so un-returnable. I wish I had a conclusion. A tidy way to tie it all up. A smiley face thought at the end of the story, but I don't. Here's the best I can come up with...

My husband loves me and wants to give me good things and hey, it's just money after all, right?! If it isn't for spending what good is it anyway?