Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On Birthdays and Celebrating

I was tucking the girls into bed the other night when Ainsley said she was almost too excited to sleep. She asked if I thought I would be able to get any sleep at all. Because, you see, the next day was my birthday. Remember birthdays as a kid? We'd mark off the days on the calendar and countdown for months before the big day. Party plans and wish lists were in place well before the expected month rolled onto the calendar let alone the week. Wishes were made well before the candles were lit and when the day finally came, it was time to celebrate BIG! But as we get older, our birthdays are not quite as eagerly anticipated anymore. When they arrive the alarm still rattles off so very early in the morning and the to-do list doesn't take a holiday. Oh, and gravity doesn't  stop either. We begin to feel a little childish to clap our hands and say to anyone listening, "It's my birthday," with our greying hair and crease lined foreheads. But it is a day to be celebrated irrespective of age, or maybe because of it.

You guys. I turned 48. That means in two years I will be 50 years old. My AARP card will come in the mail and I'll be eligible for senior discounts for dinner before 5:00p.m. That used to mean you were so old--- a half a century, {for the love of Willard Scott}. But now I know better. Being old has nothing to do with the number of years you've walked the green earth. Age is in the heart. I know people 20 years younger than I am who are old in their spirit. I also know people 20 years older than I am who have an enviable skip in their step that I long to emulate. 

It's a funny thing this aging. We're told to fight it, resist it, and lie about it. Youth serums and age-defying potions fly off of the shelves (and a few into my medicine cabinet), but maybe aging well is more about embracing our age rather than battling it. Since I don't know how many birthdays I'll get to have, I intend to celebrate each one well and good. I keep getting an unwelcome refresher course in the brevity of life lesson, and I got the message: It's so quick, this life. I don't plan to spend any of it begrudging how many years I have had the good fortune to be around for it.

My girls surely captured the idea of celebrating and could hardly contain their excitement and anticipation for my day. They had been crossing off the days on their calendar even if I was not.  Ainsley wanted to know what theme I wanted for my party because every party has a theme, right? Love seemed the obvious choice since that is what I celebrate. They ran with it and covered the made-from-scratch cookie cake with hearts and sentiments of love without end. It was a hilly terrain of smudgy brown, white, pink, and red frosting hills, and it was perfection. I was told that the four figures inside the goopy heart were meant to represent our little family. Divine. Oh, to be loved, to be celebrated.

We sat around the dinner table where their dad and I drank wine and ate salad and deep dish pizza (God bless hot carbs!) and my heart took flight. I thought I might burst with love and gratitude for the people around that table. On so many birthdays before, I wished for this very thing--a family of my own. And there around the table sat my wishes come true. My whole world. My whole heart. The theme of love was prevalent both in the mountainous frosting and in my heart. Gracious, I am so fortunate.

So here's to love and aging well.

Another upside to getting older is that you care a lot less about how you look taking a selfie in your car.

3 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. Love! And we need a pic of the cake!!

  2. I loved this article! You are so beautiful inside and out and so are your precious daughters!