35th birthday

Stephanie and Kind Sir looking ahead

“Mama,” Abigail said to me as I buckled her into her car seat, “shh, we can’t ruin the cupcakes surprise because that wouldn’t be any fun.”

“Yeah, we can’t talk about the cupcakes!” Lucas chimes in.

Delicious surprises from the mouths of my own little cupcakes.

After dropping them off at school today, I wondered how one could spend her birthday scandalously. Not governor upmarket prostitute scandalous, but an uncharacteristic indulgence, so over the top, she, if no one else, would find it unbelievably shocking, to her

I’ve never gone for a professional massage on my birthday, not a facial, or a single spa treatment. Usually work has taken precedence over celebration, so there haven’t been any spontaneous trips by way of airport, no hotel rooms reserved, no treasure hunt of clues in envelopes involving a driver and a dressing room. It’s something I’ve always wanted, however impractical. But far more delicious than the “get” is the “give.” I’m truly happiest giving these things to the ones I love, seeing their surprise and delight, their shock and confusion followed by a squeal. It’s what I want to give the people I love. 

So, that’s my new scandal: giving gifts of delight to others on my birthday. It’s my new trend. Something on which I can look back and say, “Yeah, I think it started when I turned 35.” That, and I might just do a little movie hopping (it’s not really scandal until you break a law or two), followed by a night at the Driskill Grill with my beautiful family, where I’ll stuff myself with bread and butter by the pound.



  1. I love this. A lot. (Although I also like pedicures on my birthday which is about as much pampering as I can squeeze in these days.)

    My mother always told me the story of a woman who always gave her own mom a gift, saying, “if it weren’t for you, it wouldn’t be my birthday.” I haven’t done that. Maybe our kids will.

    Happy happy birthday Steph.

  2. Happy Birthday to one of my all-time favorite writers. I hope to follow your life and family for many years to come. Your honesty is always inspiring :)

  3. Happy b day! Lovely photo here too. Do NOT be one of those girls who cuts her hair automatically when she gets to a ‘certain age’. You are still young.

    Good idea with the gift giving to others. My mom did that on her birthday actually- she’d give each of us kids a gift and one surprise later on. Made some good memories.

  4. Happy Birthday! My birthday is tomorrow, and I kind of want to skip work and go to the movies by myself too.

  5. Stephanie,

    You haven’t let us know if you are enjoying the Clarisonic?? Where are our before and after photos? …or is it still too soon?

    Happy Birthday!!


  6. Happy belated, my dear! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend in a scandalous way- who cares if it’s not your birthday anymore!

  7. Belated Happy birthday wishes.

    I have to ask–who makes your sunglasses? I love them! Been looking for a pair like them for ages.


  8. There is one reason I keep coming back to your blog day after day after month after month, and that it because you always have a way, indirectly or not, of reminding me to really LIVE. And this post perfectly captures that, at least for me. Thank you thank you thank you. This in itself is an invaluable gift you give your readers.
    Happy birthday :)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.