38th Birthday Reflections

Dear Readers,
You may have noticed that I only acknowledge my 38th birthday adventures briefly in the last post; that is for several reasons. 
1). I was (and am still) recovering from it 
2) I was still entertaining visitors from my birthday extravaganza
3) I hadn’t really had that much time to reflect on it by myself
4) I thought my birthday experience deserved a separate post.
But let me back up; I’m getting ahead of myself.
Most of my regular readers may remember that I usually celebrate by having a simple dinner with my family. Occasionally, my best friend travels from Michigan to spend it with me- but that’s about it. Not this time. Unbeknownst to me, my friend (Rondalyn) had contacted my mom in February about the possibility of coming to visit me for my birthday; mom said she would see what our plans were and get back to her. In the meantime, I had been playing around with the idea of going someplace warm for my birthday. It was (and is) still cold and I was in need of a little sun.
As time grew closer, I became more adamant about that idea. So mom and Rondalyn came to the conclusion that she would just have to come with us.. All this time I had no idea; I was under the guise that Rondalyn was going to Las Vegas with her family! (You see, we usually talk daily and are very close).
So you can imagine my surprise when I get a FaceTime call from her saying she is not touching down in Las Vegas, but in Virginia! She had come to join us at Virginia Beach and celebrate my birthday.
From then on, it was a whirlwind. We spent the evening at home and then woke up early and packed up for our three-hour trip. When we arrived, mom arranged for us to have a suite; for those that are unfamiliar with the concept, a suite is a small kitchenette/living room area attached to a bedroom with a bathroom in between. Although Rondalyn can walk with a walker, she brought her wheelchair along for touring the Boardwalk. With two wheelchairs, you can imagine how cramped it became. Not to mention, we could barely fit through the narrow corner at the entrance to our hotel room. Still, we made the best of it.
The first night we ate at a small restaurant attached to the hotel. I think it was called The Blue Whale. Rondalyn and I each had a crab cake. After that, we walked the Boardwalk for a little bit; it was quite chilly. 
When we awoke the next morning, it was still quite chilly but the sun was out. We were determined not to let the weather deter our task for that day- shopping. First, we had lunch at a little restaurant on the boardwalk. Dad and I shared a huge bacon burger and fries with a bowl of some type of zesty cheese soup; it was definitely unique. From there, we traveled across the street to a “Sunsation” shop containing Virginia Beach merchandise. It was there that we spent the next few hours milling over what to purchase. I purchased nine different items, one outfit the same as Rondalyn’s; so that we would match. (See below)
After we had exhausted ourselves as well as emptied our pocketbooks, we were hungry. Mom, thinking ahead, suggested we pick up something for breakfast the next morning. “How about Duncan donuts?” Before we can reply, she pointed out another option, there across the street stood a Duck Donuts shop. For those that are unfamiliar, Duck Donuts are slightly different than regular donuts; not only are they made from different ingredients that make a heavier dough, but they are made fresh to order right in front of you. This Duck Donuts had a variety of items that were Boardwalk themed such as “The Beach Ball” and “The Flip- Flop” . (We actually ended up getting a dozen different types because we couldn’t decide on just six!) Personally, my favorite was the S’mores- a chocolate and marshmallow with graham cracker doughnut. They smelled so good, we couldn’t help but share one on the way back to the hotel. Before we headed in, however, dad was able to make reservations for a popular restaurant on the boardwalk – Catch 22 for the very next evening. Once we returned to the room, we spent the remainder of the evening just talking and watching TV; my parents allowed us to have the bedroom to ourselves a majority of the time, so we could catch up in  privacy.
On my birthday, dad went out to get us Starbucks for breakfast. Little did we know that he didn’t go to the one closest to us; instead he walked several blocks just to get a coffee. But at least I got my peppermint mocha. Instead of heading out for lunch, we all decided  to snack – knowing fully well that we were going out for a fancy dinner. In the meantime, my parents allowed me to open some of my gifts beforehand. One was a protective cover for my Alexa, while the others had to do with my anticipation of the coming a dog owner in the future. First, my parents got me a Goldendoodle book and a pair of pajamas featuring cute dog cartoons with sayings about what dog owners usually do involving their pets. One of my favorite examples says something like “….makes sure to keep to his or her side of the bed.” Rondalyn gave me a bracelet from Alex and Emma that has the names of the “Angels Of Protection” on it, such as Michael.
Around lunchtime, we decided to walk the Boardwalk again. By this time, the sun was high in the sky; but there was still a chill in air. On the way we passed by a street artist making paintings using paint from spray cans. I fell in love with a purple and pink setting with black palm trees. After telling it was my birthday, he just gave it to me for free! (See below). However, dad did give him a very big tip…
All of us went to dinner shortly after. The place was packed with prom reservations. I was surprised to hear people praying at the table next to us; but after passing a Christian booth on the boardwalk, we believed they were with them or something. Just a glimpse of their beautiful dresses reminded me of my college homecoming; it seems like just yesterday I was sitting with my friends at IHOP drinking hot chocolate after a long night of dancing and talking with friends.
Wow, how time flies..
Still, my friends stick by me through thick and thin; we stay in contact through Skype and give each

other Godly advice when it’s needed. Rondalyn and others have taught me the true meaning of friendship.They have seen me as just a person, not a person with a disability

But I digress..
That night I had a crab cake dinner (with some fancy name) and a strawberry daiquiri  while Rondalyn had the same. While the dinner was great, the daiquiri was not- probably because I asked them to put whipped cream on top or because they used a different type of alcohol. Mind you, I don’t drink – only on special occasions. For dessert. I had a S’mores cake type thing which the manager graciously deducted from the bill for my special day
When I returned to the room, they gave me the remainder of my gifts. First, there was a dog mug in purple with black pawprints all over it that said  “DOG MOM” and then there was my ultimate favorite a necklace with a pink paw print on it that says the same. Now to most of you it might seem strange that I have all of these things with the word “DOG” on it when I don’t even have a dog; but to me, these are promises of things to come in the future. I have always wanted a dog that would be able to do things for me and make me as independent as possible.. But even more than that, I want the dog for a companion. Sure, I will always have my family around.. But there’s something about a dog that loves you in his own special way that appeals to me.
As you can see for a 4-day trip to Virginia Beach, there was a lot to write about. Even now, looking back, I’m exhausted.
(Funny little side note here: I apologize if I got any of the gift giving and presents out of order. I was trying to do this by memory)

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