I took a day off from posting yesterday, simply because I was distracted. Some of these posts have been written while I was distracted by something, and are therefore not particularly readable. I’m tempted to go back and re-write some of them. I probably won’t, but I’ve learned my lesson.
On with the 30-day-challenge!
I love birthdays. While I have had some good ones – my sixteenth, nineteenth, seventh, and 28th all come to mind – I cannot choose a favorite, because all birthdays are awesome!
As I thought about what to write, I realized that it’s not so much about an individual birthday, as it is about the common threads woven throughout all the birthdays I’ve had, as well as the ones I am trying to weave throughout my family’s.
The common threads of love, celebration, tradition, and growth.
Until I had children, I couldn’t fully see the thoughtfulness and effort my mother put into making my birthdays special for me. Of course, I felt it, and was often overwhelmed by it. Still, it is so different now that I have kids of my own. I have tasted the almost physical ache of motherly love, and I marvel as I think that my mother felt the same thing for me. And probably still does.
A few decorations above the kitchen table, on which sat a birthday cake and a few presents, greeted me the morning of my birthday for years. A chorus of “Happy Birthday” sung tenderly by Mom & Dad, and a bit raucously by my sisters, made the air tingle with a spirit of festivity. All in a celebration of the goodness of God in bringing a new, precious life into the world. Birthdays are worth celebrating, for they represent a miracle.
Every birthday was the same, but different, because of tradition. Waking up to streamers and balloons over my bed. The cake (always homemade – I can only remember one that wasn’t) and presents on the table in the morning. Making us wait until Dad was home from work before we could celebrate. The “pinch to grow an inch.” Being surrounded by family.
All these formed the base on which I am building my own birthday traditions. Birthday pancakes and a present on the table for the kids to wake up to. Celebrating on Sunday afternoons so Levi can be there. Making the cake myself instead of buying one. Keeping it simply family, after trying to do parties for awhile.
It’s heart-wrenchingly joyful to watch these babies I birthed just yesterday grow and learn and change. Each year, when I sit and watch them blow out their candles, I see the messy little newborn in my arms, and feel that bittersweet tang of aching delight all over again. I marvel at their height, their changing faces, their budding curiosity, and their developing character.
Then, I look at myself, and am amazed that I, too, have grown along with them. Perhaps more so than they.
Whoever said that having a child is like walking around with your heart outside of your body, knew what they were talking about, and I am so glad we have birthdays to help us mark the years.
PS: Next June is my 30th – and I want to really make some memories with that one. How, I don’t know yet. But I’ll think of something, I promise you that! And I’m open to suggestion…I’ve already jumped out of a plane, so what next?