Today I turned 39 and before you think this is going to be a long, sad lament about aging or wanting to lie about how old I am, read on. You should know that I love my birthday. I adore my birthday. I genuinely think there is something magical and special about April 28. I want to celebrate and eat cake and do something fun and to be revered as the greatest person to ever walk the earth for this one day and be congratulated for living another year, preferably with a dinner out and flowing words of affirmation. Who doesn’t?
My love of my birthday probably started with my mom. She had a tradition of climbing into bed with us every year on our birthdays and telling us the story of the day we were born. My birth story highlights include being extremely overdue, my mom being worried about having no clean laundry to wear to the hospital and about the miraculous way I came into the world at 7:29am. The story was long and drawn out and special and usually included different voices and an occasional interpretive dance or shadow puppet display, and it was all mine. Even after I left for college and got married and had kids of my own and lived hours away, my mom still calls every year around 7:29am. Thankfully she quit crawling into bed with me when I moved in with Scott. Creepy. 🙂
The point is that all this made me look forward to my birthday each and every year. I can’t recall any particular memories of a particular birthday party or certain presents I ever got, but I have an inevitable excitement that starts building around April 1 because I know my birthday is coming soon and I can hardly wait for it to get here. Even as momentous birthdays like 18 or 21 or 30 passed and interesting birthdays, like 40, get closer, I still have the same excitement that this will be the best year yet.
I don’t mind getting older, in fact sometimes I forget that I’m supposed to feel 39. I can still do a cartwheel, I still do flips on the trampoline with my kids, and I can drink like a pirate at a Jimmy Buffet concert. Sure, I might need a lifetime supply of Icy Hot after the cartwheel, the first flip makes me slightly nauseous and a hangover now averages three days instead of just one, but I still feel pretty damn young. I hope that stays with me year after year. I think it will.
Today I was loved well and taken care of, as any birthday girl should be. Facebook is a glorious thing on your birthday when you wind up with hundreds of birthday messages at the end of the day and plenty of others sent me text after text. I spent my day filling Free Little Libraries with books that I love in the pouring rain with my friend. She treated me to breakfast and coffee and we laughed our heads off as we drove from neighborhood to neighborhood. I had lunch with my Scott and we shopped for my new laptop (hurray and ooh la la for the new touchscreen I’m getting!) and we browsed the Junk Jamboree for hours, which is truly a gift because I stress him out with what I might want to buy. (For the record, I only came home with one chair.) Friends dropped off chocolates and wine and magazines because they know me. Tonight Scott, bless his heart, took all the kids roller skating while I have the house to myself and tomorrow I have a coffee date with myself to write. All this adds up to one amazing birthday and I am grateful.
But the greatest gift to me today were the five beautiful letters written to me by my family. Each of them told me why they love me so much, they told me thank you for being their mom and why they were so proud of me. They know how to love me well on my birthday and letters like that make me know I’m doing something right with these wee babes.
I hope I’m teaching them to love their birthdays just as much. I hope they laugh and explain to their own kids the reason they climb into bed with them early in the morning on their birthday every year is because their mom did it with them and her mom did it with her. Because it makes you feel special, don’t you know?! I hope they can’t remember what we bought them or what theme their party was, but that they just knew deep in their bones, in the very fiber of their being, that their birthday was a true celebration of when they joined this world. And even more that their mom just couldn’t help but remember every year that very moment that they changed her life so completely and that remembering had to be done by snuggling in next to them first thing in the morning so they could keep that feeling of being so completely wanted with them all day long.
I love my birthday. I really do. Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special. You totally made my day.