In the spirit of "keeping it real"...
Yippee. Today... It wasn't too great. Rather crummy, actually. It doesn't help that this is the most depressing time of the year in Moscow. It's already been winter for months and it won't be nice outside until the end of April.
I had wanted a peaceful morning of some coffee in bed (and maybe some fresh strawberries I bought yesterday)... NO illusions about breakfast in bed; it wouldn't be worth having to clean up the disaster in the kitchen later on... Then some snuggling on the couch while we'd watch some TV together... Maybe the girls could put on one of their little performances... Then go to the gym as a family, maybe out for an inexpensive meal afterwards... Back home at an early hour so we could just hang out some more...
I also really wanted some homemade cards by the girls.
Not too much to hope for, I think... Any part of it, really...
I didn't even want a present, since by virtue of being expats we pretty much stock up on anything we could foresee needing/wanting (within reason, of course) when we're in the USA -- and we had just done that after Christmas. Since we moved here five years ago, I don't think I've gotten an actual present on my birthday -- so that's not a big deal. (My parents celebrated my birthday while we were together over Christmas).
But then Chris worked late, not getting home until almost four a.m.... Forget coffee in bed. I was up with the girls at seven a.m., exhausted. I'd been woken by both girls during the night and by him when he had returned home.
After my medical problems this week, I'm supposed to be RESTING and avoiding stress. (The right side of my face has regained most sensation, but still isn't 100% back to normal). How I DREAM of being able to sleep in some time... It only happens a few times a year on some miraculous occasion.
We DID have some nice snuggling on the couch, but the girls kept fighting with each other so much that it ended up being really disappointing and unpleasant.
You know what it's like... Break up fight, enforce time outs, serve breakfast, clean up breakfast, deal with laundry, more refereeing, time to make lunch, clean up lunch, more laundry...
Chris was up for a while at lunch time, but still really tired... His job is so darn draining and it never seems to end. Then he went to sleep again, right when we'd planned to go to the gym. Figuring he needed the sleep, the girls and I waited... But by the time he got up, I was so darn tired from the long day with the kids and dealing with housework (there was a LOT to do), I didn't have the energy. (I have fibromyalgia and it really flares up when I'm tired or under stress, so this week has been rough). I took a nap for a whopping forty-five minutes. By then we'd missed the kids' classes at the gym and it was too late to go without feeding them first.
I headed into the kitchen to make eggplant parmigiana, and I even got a little help from Katya... but then they started painting and ended up making a big mess. (It had been under control and neat while I supervised, but not once I left). Katya supposedly did paint me a card, but somehow it was destroyed. Natalia made one, but I haven't seen it yet.
The painting lead to a few loads of laundry. (Our washing machine can only handle 10 lbs of laundry at a time. Since we have to do laundry "Moscow-style", I won't finish it all until tomorrow -- four 1/2 hours per load from beginning to end).
Sensing, perhaps, that I was about to snap, Chris suggested that we get some Indian food delivered. Good call. I'll complete the eggplant tomorrow. Getting food delivered is something we've done less than five times in five years. It takes forever, the food is usually COLD and it's ridiculously expensive... Truly, it's easier to just make a pizza from scratch than it is to order one... (This isn't true in all areas of the city, though).
By the time the food arrived, the girls were cranky, I had reached my maximum level of tolerance for stress and whining, and I was feeling utterly disappointed about the tiring day during which I'd accomplished almost nothing. I didn't even have an appetite... I know I'll really appreciate the yummy leftovers tomorrow, though...!
Thanks so much to those of you who knew it was my birthday and sent me good wishes via the internet! And to Julie who even called me on my mobile from California! It really helped. This morning my first "Happy Birthdays" came from my cell-phone provider and the customer service rep from our gym.
If we were living in the US, I don't think I'd really care... But birthdays are HUGE, HUGE, HUGE here! For people of ALL ages. It's a major holiday.
I think this year it's so hard for me because of something the neurologist said when I was in the hospital on Tuesday... One of the reasons she thought I might have had a blood clot was because of sagging in my facial muscles. Then she later realized, "Oh, good!! You just have wrinkles!"
When did I get OLD???!!!!!
I never thought I'd be getting "old" and still not have begun the life I always thought I'd live -- settled in a house, in a town we'd be part of for the rest of our kids' educations (at least), and teaching foreign languages (not English -- that's not my profession) at a school where I could really grow as an educator.
It's hard being on this path that I didn't choose and not knowing how much longer I'll be on it. I try to make the best of everything, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt sometimes. Sometimes a lot.
All that said, I know that my family really does love and appreciate me -- and that they really did mean for my birthday to be nice... Maybe from now on I'll take over more of a role in planning it so that their actions end up matching their intentions. I plan for everyone else, I might as well do it for myself!