The Blessing of Birthdays

My morning began with a phone call from Liam’s OT saying our session was cancelled. I rolled over in bed and breathed a sigh of relief because this meant I didn’t have to drag a tired 4 year old out of bed. Today is my birthday and this was my gift from the therapist. As an adult, birthdays have taken on a different meaning and every year I am given a new opportunity to review how special each day is.

Birthdays are big days in this home and as long as I am alive, they always will be. I grew up in a home that treated your birthday like it was the best day in the world and I believed that it always was.  When I turned 16, my mother spent the week prior in the hospital, but she insisted that I was to have my party as it was the first party with my friends since I had turned 7. Of all my life experiences, that 16th birthday party made me feel like I was the most important person in my parents’ life.

When I turned 18, my parents asked me what I wanted to do. My parents had adopted my youngest brother after his 2nd birthday, so this was his first birthday party ever and I was done.  I’d had 17 years of birthdays to celebrate my life, it was his turn.  Our birthdays are 3 days apart and ever since, I’ve shared a party with him. I love it. There is a 15 year gap between our births, and he’s the most important thing that happened to me in 1998.  Our birthdays are a celebration for me of a life I get to cherish and adore because that little boy taught me how to be patient so that I’d be ready when I had my own little ones.

After my mother died, I felt invisible… birthdays were the worst. No one hung banners any more or asked me what kind of cake I wanted. I felt silly having a party for myself and selfish for asking someone to do it for me. It took until my 30th birthday to realize why we really celebrate birthdays: we celebrate the moments we have, not what we want, but what is here right now.

Today; I took out the trash, wiped noses, reminded children to use the potty instead of dancing around, I baked cupcakes, fried chicken and thanked friends for their birthday wishes. And I sent up grateful prayers that I got to have today. Not everyone gets to celebrate their day with another year, let alone surrounded by the ones they love. The older I get, the more grateful I am for my days in life. Each day is another chance to celebrate where we came from, where we are and the hope of tomorrow.



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