Allowing Myself a Happy Indulgence for My Birthday

It was a burning question. How did I want to celebrate my birthday this year? I figured that a day of being pampered at the spa and dining with my Sweetheart was a perfect plan.

It is adapting to being an empty nest dad. For 30 years, the kids’ birthdays were big deals. We made sure that they were well celebrated to mark their days. As they aged the parties changed but were still celebrated.

Throughout, I maintained that my birthday was not important by comparison. Except for momentous passages such as 40 and 50 years, they were mainly low key affairs.  In fact, I usually didn’t want it celebrated at all.

Now that the kids have moved on with their lives, I reflected that maybe… just maybe… I could allow myself to celebrate my birthday.

Perhaps it is the notion of imminent mortality that’s driving this. Or a sense that it is my turn now… that I may deserve the celebration? This summer Sweetheart feasted her 55th birthday with our kids and me in Toronto. Surely I could allow myself a little indulgence as well.

As the day approached for my 54th, I noodled on the thought of what would make me happy that day. After tossing around many ideas, I settled on an indulgence – to spend the afternoon at the spa and dinner at a four-star restaurant with the best date ever – Sweetheart.

On a mission, I tracked down the Brookstreet Hotel‘s offerings. The Brooksteet is an independently owned hotel where I’ve performed many wedding ceremonies and have always been impressed with their service.

I tracked down their spa menu. There were the usual manicure, pedicure and facials which, I’m sorry, do not appeal to me. But there were a couple of options that looked really good. I made our spa and dinner reservations.

On Celebration Day, we took a taxi to the hotel so that we didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving. We signed in at the spa and made our way to the first stop, a salt-water whirlpool to begin relaxing.

At our appointed time, I received a hydro-fusion capsule treatment. It is a steam-filled capsule that surrounds your body while your head is outside. The 44C temperature for 15 minute gives you an instant sauna treatment without feeling smothered by breathing hot air.

Feeling really mellow, this was followed by a couple’s relaxation massage. Sweetheart had a hot-stone massage while I enjoyed an aromatherapy one.

With a bit of time to kill before dinner, we had a couple of martinis in the cocktail lounge where I recorded a Youtube music video for her for Valentine’s day.

The Brookstreet Hotel has one of the few four-star restaurants in the city. Since the evening was not busy, we asked if the chef’s choice six course tasting menu + wine pairings could be adapted to our dietary needs. Our son, the chef, always says we should ask – so we did. I maintain a gluten-free diet whereas Sweetheart cannot eat anything that walks (ie meat). We were delighted when they agreed to the challenge.

The feast that followed was phenomenally epic. We sometimes did not have the same dish and wine – which added to the fun. For example, she had ravioli while I had a stout soup. We both thought the black cod was divine  The ultimate for me was well-presented and flavorful venison while she had specially made sushi. Our wines ranged from riesling, pinot noir, syrah and others. The pairings were superb.

Wow! What a perfect day. I absolutely loved it. It was a deeply satisfying indulgence for my birthday that made me feel happy and wonderful.

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