It seems entirely fitting that this year we celebrated my birthday on the road, with the attendant challenges and compromises that arise from having limited luggage space, limited living space and no kitchen. Jenny, Elena and Roman stepped up to the challenge and delivered a wonderful, thoughtful birthday celebration. We woke up early to open cards and presents. Each of them gave me a card, and there was even a card from Jewel. The presents didn’t take much space, but were just what I wanted: metal collar stays, a new shirt and tie, commemorative Olympics postage stamps, and a bag of candy big enough to last for the rest of our trip. I was especially surprised by the stamps, which celebrated athletes that we had seen compete, and had been available as a limited edition for only a short period of time.
In the evening, after an excellent dinner at an authentic pub that clearly sees far more local guests than tourists, we closed out our celebration with special cupcakes. Jenny had wanted them to be a surprise, but Elena was just too excited and had accidentally spilled the beans by asking about or otherwise mentioning them several times. They had scouted out a local cupcake shop online before our trip, then placed their order as soon as they arrived in town. Each cupcake had its own flavor and style, and the bakers were very kind to mark them with my age and include complimentary birthday candles so that I could make a birthday wish after we sang “Happy Birthday.”
It was hard to know what to wish for. On the one hand, I have a wonderful life with an amazing wife, charming children, loving parents, brothers, and sisters, and more blessings than I could ever list. I couldn’t ask for anything more in that regard. On the other hand, we aren’t exactly settled down, and it’s so hard to predict what we’ll do next that it’s hardly wasting a wish on just one of the many possibilities. We’ll continue to hold on tight and see what happens.