this is (my) 40

I did not feel good about this birthday. I woke up this morning feeling sad and very much not proud of myself. I had a solid cry, and then I felt a bit better.

I was brushing my (healthy) teeth after a (nice, long, hot) shower in the house that I own when my wife came in and said to me, with tears welling in her eyes, that she loved me just the way I am and that she wouldn't have it any other way. Just, out of nowhere.

Then I had a delicious home-cooked breakfast—and Voodoo Donuts!—with my (healthy) family. Then I received three homemade cards and a handful of immensely thoughtful gifts, the best of which was a tiny mailbox filled with forty handwritten "love coupons" from my wife and daughters. (Cue the waterworks from me.)

Then I loafed around all day long while my two daughters played and snuggled me and asked me to read to them and my wife continued to feed me and baked me a giant cake decorated with pictures of me, her, and the kids (she used Nilla wafers and drew our faces on them with icing). My in-laws called to say how much they loved me. My mother and sister did the same, and so did my best friend. I took my 6-year-old out front to the sidewalk and we smashed open an old non-functioning Tile with a hammer, just to see what was inside.

The sun was shining all day and warm beams passing through the tops of our front-yard shrubs threw lovely little patterns of shadow across my couch and living room. The biggest sunbeam landed right on the dollhouse that my 3-year-old happily busied herself with for a good portion of the afternoon. I tried reading a novel, but mostly I just dozed and watched my kids play.

At the end of the day we ate cake and ice cream. My older daughter threw a messy tantrum right before bed, but she calmed down after I carried her to bed on my shoulder and hummed her favorite lullabye while tucking her in.

'Cause when I look around I think this, this is good enough"As Is"