I entered the health club this morning, thinking “will she say it?”and hoping she would — all while knowing how very silly it was.
“Good morning,” she said, as she scanned my card, and then, “Happy birthday, Sara!”
Score! (I acted nonchalant, of course, but inside I was doing my happy dance.)
The receptionist is new (to me, at least). The health club hires numerous students, and their schedules change with each semester, and the semester started Monday. So the birthday greeting was a response to a prompt on the member screen that appeared when she scanned my card, nothing personal. But somehow it matters — even more than the birthday postcard I received from the politician running for state senator or the birthday discount announcement sent me by my favorite department store.
“Happy birthday, Sara!” as I walk past the reception desk makes me feel I’ve accomplished something big today. Little did I know it was just the start of a party.
I headed to the locker room, where Connie was casually waiting, so she could give me her birthday gift — an amazing “holy” scarf (a new pattern) in blazing purple with a homemade birthday card that reminded me a great friend remembers your birthday but not your age. (And also tells everyone else it is your special day, too, apparently.)
Because I walked into the pool area for my favorite workout of the week — H2Go (a water class that reminds me of a strength and HIT workout, high intensity training but in water and, therefore, so much fun) — and was greeted with exuberant “Happy birthdays!”
At some point in the workout, Kaylen, our instructor, had us “light Sara’s birthday candles” (which took an awfully long time, apparently, because we did this under the water not because I am just so old). At another point Kaylen had us blow out the candles by creating minor tidal waves. Fun stuff.
(She also let me choose an exercise — I chose my favorite twice and then my second favorite once. Good times.)
In the locker room, my friends (and familiar faces soon to be friends) offered birthday greetings, singing “happy birthday” en masse, plus a few solo versions of birthday varieties, including Penny’s rocky “they say it’s your birthday” as she strummed her air guitar and Candy’s “Sara’s birthday’s in the house.”
“And this is why I love coming to the gym,” I enthused.
The only sad part was when Connie declared that everyone should read my blog today, because I was sure to write about the birthday and locker room experience, when I hadn’t thought about writing about it at all, and then I had to do so — by 8 a.m., according to the locker room crowd — who are probably away from their computers and ignoring their phones as they indulge in the doughnuts I gave them permission to eat (though I provided none). (Thank you, Tracy, for the suggestion of doughnuts. Now I want one.)
Kaylen asked me if I had anything special planned for today, and I told her “this class” would be my highlight. My classmates thought I was sucking up, but I truly meant it, as I always look forward to Wednesday’s workout.
But I have to say the day’s entire gym experience was special — from the “happy birthday” greeting from the receptionist, to Connie’s homemade gift, to the various greetings, the special exercises in the pool, the singing, the raucous laughter, the joy, and even the exit, when a nice young man pushed the handicap auto-open button to open the door and I declared “it’s magic!” and he wished me a magical day.
It is already.
And it’s just begun.
Sara’s birthday’s in the house. Or gym. Or office. Wherever. (That’s what Candy meant.)