Week 11

” One cannot have too large a party.” – Emma 

We are blessed to have a big and beautiful family. Because of this, on any given month of the year, someone in it is celebrating a birthday. My kids know this, as they often get me to recite for them the list of who’s is coming next. And guess what – at this particular time, on this particular day, it’s me. Today is my birthday. It’s my birthday today.

Our society is kinda funny about birthdays…

  • Our girls grow up surrounded by these women in the media who are afraid of their birthday. They don’t talk about their age and invest tons of money into creams, serums and surgeries  to stop the process of aging altogether.
  • When you do decide to celebrate with a fabulous pinterest-inspired party, all these articles tell you that you are doing nothing more than buying into consumerism, and setting unrealistic expectations for our children.

Can I beg to differ?

Granted, Caleb and I have never been very good at celebrating our birthdays – receiving gifts is neither one of our love languages and Caleb isn’t the biggest romantic on the block (I get my romance from Jane Austen’s novels). But when it comes to the kids – we don’t hesitate. Why is that?

I think back to the childhood birthdays that I can remember…

Do I remember the number of presents I received? Did I compare one birthday party to the next – having expectations dashed when one didn’t measure up to the other? No.

I remember the homemade cakes decorated with white icing and smarties. I remember 45 minutes of peace between myself and my brothers (just long enough to sing happy birthday, blow out some candles and open a gift). I remember $10 bills in birthday cards from my grandma.

Now, I think about how my birthdays have changed…

Cakes are rarely homemade. And the 45 minutes of peace between myself and my brothers has turned into a cherished 45 minutes spent over the phone (just long enough to catch up with one another, reminisce and wonder why we don’t talk more often). The $10 bill in my birthday cards has turned into these precious handmade drawings – signed “to: mom, love: hailey & zach”, in their barely legible scrawl.

And I’ve realized something…

We don’t hesitate to celebrate our children’s birthdays because – it’s as much for them as  it is for us. Celebrating their birthdays is our way of celebrating them, showing them how truly loved they are at this time, in this moment. In a way we are celebrating us – our family – reminiscing in the change that has crept up on us over the last 364 days.

A lot can happen in a year. When I think about my last birthday – I was suffering from the worst morning sickness of my life, NO idea that the culprits of that morning sickness were our newest TWO little men. And now, here they are in my arms and life without them is nothing but a foggy memory. A year – most definitely is something worth reflecting on.

Our birthday is the perfect day to not only look back over the past 364 days (the good, the bad and the ugly), but to look ahead to the next 365+. We can only begin to wonder, hope and dream about what the future has in store. Take it as our chance for a fresh start – to begin again.

That is what I will be doing today. Reminiscing over where I started, adjusting my expectations about where I am now, and dreaming about where I see me in the years to come.

If I’ve learned anything this past year?

Spend more time celebrating. Everyday I get to spend with the ones that I love is a blessing, to get to have a whole other year ahead with them – would be a dream. So, I will celebrate today with my family and friends over our traditional meal of chinese food and maybe some store-bought cupcakes; a couple of homemade cards and a few precious phone calls.

In this moment I have everything that I could ever possibly need at my fingertips – how long do we spend waiting for that day to come? Sounds worth celebrating to me – and one cannot have too large a party.

I feel like I need to include the link to this song at the end of my post today. I’ve had this song streaming through my head as I’ve sat here writing – it may be that we are just a little “Girl Meets World” crazy in this house, gotta love a throwback to Cory and Topanga Matthews, or it may just be that truer words were never spoken… Enjoy!

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