Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Today I am 40. The same age Steve was when he died. I can't even wrap my head around that.

What I can do is report that I have been absolutely spoiled and showered with love. My loved ones completely outdid themselves. Steve Damm would have been mighty impressed.


You may remember the lamp incident from September 2009, when I'm convinced Steve was communicating with me through our bedroom lamp.

Last night, around 11:45 p.m., I went to bed. I turned the lamp switch to turn off the light, and it wouldn't turn off. It flickered a little but stayed on. I turned again and again. It stayed on.

I whispered hello to Steve and kept turning until it turned off.

About five minutes after being in the dark, the light flickered one more time.

It's just like Steve to make a big deal out of my birthday.


My mom called this morning. She's been in a nursing home for more than four years now. Some conversations are more lucid than others.

Today, she was cheerful and totally cognizant. And she told me some baby and toddler stories.

She told me that I was born with lots of dark hair. And that I was a smiley baby, often "smiling when it wasn't time to smile."

She told me that when I was very small and in the backseat (without a carseat, of course, because it was the 1970s), I dug my hand into the ashtray and ate cigarette butts.

Nice, eh? Perhaps that's why I've never smoked or had a desire to smoke -- I got it out of my system early.

And she told me about a time when I was a toddler and slept in my crib with night braces to correct the direction of my feet (too inward or too outward, I'm not sure).

She and my dad were downstairs drinking coffee. I apparently crawled out of the crib with the brace on and crawled down the stairs. With a big smile on my face.

"You were determined," she said. "And you always have been. That's what's gotten you through your life."

That conversation was one of the best gifts ever received.


Liz apparently sent an email to our circle of nearby friends, asking them to help me celebrate today. Let me tell you -- this group of women and men gets things done. They do life in a big way!

Drivers followed instructions all day.
I woke up to a giant 40 sign hanging on the front porch. And in the front yard, signs encouraging drivers to honk "hello." (The handiwork of Layne and Kris, I believe.)

Cooper and Katie were beside themselves with excitement, obviously in on much of the fun.

Kelly was here by 6:45 a.m. with enough breakfast food to feed a dozen people, including the Starbucks oatmeal I love AND a grande soy latte.
One of many 40 signs around Frisco today
When it was time to drive to school, I discovered another surprise: my typically tame minivan tricked out with tulle and a big heart on the windshield and signs proclaiming "40 and Fabulous!" and "40 is Hot!" (I have Shannon and Lisa to thank for this creativity, I think.)

So, we're in the car, driving one-third of a mile to school in the gaudiest Odyssey this side of Frisco when Katie says, "Tyra is 40!"

"Yes, Katie, that's true."

"No," she persisted. "There's a sign there that says 'Tyra is 40!' "

It was true. On the corner of our street and busy Timber Ridge was such a sign. And a couple of blocks later, at the entrance to our beloved Bledsoe, was another sign.

Katie, Tyra, Cooper and the sign at Bledsoe
Shannon was responsible for the signs, too. She never met Steve, but I have no doubt they would have been fast friends.


Bernita, on her way to Bible study at Prestonwood, surprised me in the office with homemade muffins for Thursday's breakfast.


Holly, Kris and Liz treated me to lunch. (This after they joined Julie and Allison in throwing me the best girlfriend birthday party ever on Saturday night.) We ate on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants and enjoyed the sunshine.


Once home from work, a giant balloon bouquet was waiting on the front porch. (I think I can thank Zena for that festive touch.)


Cake and candles (with a wisecrack from Cooper about the heat)
Angie (world's best guidance counselor) and Jana (world's best fifth-grade language arts teacher) delivered a homemade, three-layer chocolate cake.


Cooper, Katie and I met a group at Braum's for afternoon treats. When we walked in, the Amezcuas, the Morgans, the Wheeleys and one Watland burst into song, singing "Happy Birthday to You" right there in the entrance.


Katie, Molli, Brooke and Cooper
We met the Woodbury family for dinner in Allen. All four cousins ate together then ran around. Melane, Greg and I visited.


I've received so many cards and gifts and phone calls and Facebook and Twitter messages all day. It's like the best group hug in the history of hugs.

Cooper asked me tonight how I would rate today as a birthday on a scale from 1 to 10.

I told him 9. That the only thing that would have made it better was to celebrate with Daddy.

"I've kind of forgotten what it's like to have Daddy in the house," he said. "All those tears are dry, since the middle of fifth grade."

He didn't say it with sadness or melancholy or anger. He was simply honest.

After I tucked him into bed and I was walking out of his bedroom, he called out, "Good night, Birthday Girl."

For some reason, that sweet comment made me cry for the first time all day.


Thank you to everyone who has made 40 so fun and so filled with love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This post made my day. You are indeed very blessed to have the group of friends and neighbors that surround you with love and support.
Happy 40th :)