It happened. My birthday happened. It didn’t even ask for my permission. It just happened.
Interrupting my daily mundane and overwhelming my self-inflicted smallness was the beautiful reality that people celebrate life despite the crazy of their own lives where the unexpected happens, where loss happens, where grief happens, where hopelessness happens and yet where joy happens, and friends happen, and miracles happen, and falling in love happens. People chose to celebrate my life, even if for a moment. And although I try to be an honorable person and live a life of honor, I feel so beyond honored that I’m overwhelmed.
My birthday wasn’t just another day.
The day of my birthday was the same day one of my closest friends celebrated the life of her father who passed earlier in the month. He was a brave man. A good man. A true man. A man of integrity and honor. There aren’t many men like this anymore so a celebration was certainly the least that this man’s legacy deserved. This man spoke few words and yet his influence was that of a drop of water on a quiet and still lake. The ripples continue to spread outward. My friend’s family gathered, remembered, laughed, cried, shared memories…. And they celebrated life.
The day of my birthday was the same day that I wished several others a Happy Birthday as well. We all celebrated in the most magical place on earth – Disneyland. We wore little buttons that announced our special day and although Disney employees are expected to wish you a happy birthday, it was still fun and surprising how many non-employees wished us happiness as well. These strangers and I shared smiles, waves, and reveled in the fact that we survived another year of crazy. (I’m hoping to post some pictures soon!)
The day of my birthday a cousin drove 7 hours to spend the day with my brother and I in Disneyland on my birthday. Who does that? Perhaps a Disney fanatic. Or a cousin.
The day of my birthday was the same day I met, for the first time, another cousin and an aunt. It was beautiful. Our eyes connected, we hugged, and our laughter rung out true and strong. Family. They spent just the evening of my birthday with us and laughed more than I could imagine! I never felt that I lacked in the family department but certainly I feel a gain. It’s a beautiful bonus added to a blessing.
The day of my birthday, people paused to wish me a happy birthday on social media. They didn’t have to but they took the 3 seconds or so to do it. And I felt blessed.
What made the actual day so unforgettable was that I spent my day with the most magical person on earth – my older brother. There are not enough words and there will never be enough time to describe my love for a sibling who is my heart-connected twin separated by 3 1/2 years and a thousand miles.
Because I was in Disneyland the day of my birthday, friends and family members threw me a party a week before my birthday. This wasn’t a normal party. This party had vision, beauty, twinkle lights, marshmallows, popcorn, and magic.
(Do I sound a little spoiled at this point? Yes – I was absolutely spoiled and am still reeling from it!)
It’s these very friends and family who have seen me at my worst. They’ve encouraged my broken heart, held my hand in the dark, and have listened to my wallowing. They’ve pulled me out of the messes I walked right into and they still choose to love me. Is this not what a friend should do and yet as I sit here two weeks after the event, my eyes still well up with tears of overwhelming gratitude for my tribe.
The friends that God has blessed my life with.
Each and every person who I’m blessed to call ‘friend’, who were at the party or not, makes me a rich woman because I get to be near their laughter, smiles, and their joy. I love my tribe’s quirks, differences, stories, humor, and beauty, despite any relationship complexities. Words can never explain the honor I feel of having the amazing friends I do in the community, at my workplace, on my Fantasy Football league, at my church, or anywhere else. I’m blessed.
Even on this side of my birthday, I’m still receiving hugs, gifts, well-wishes, lunch dates, and smiles.
Who am I to be this blessed? I’m humbled, truly.
While I’m not the only person who finds tremendous joy and satisfaction in being the giver and yet wrestles with being the receiver, this birthday was a reminder to my own soul to treasure each life that crosses my path because every life is worth celebrating.
Every day is worth celebrating.
Every friendship is worth celebrating.
Every smile, compliment, and encouragement is worth celebrating.
And gosh darnit – every birthday is worth celebrating too!
A few highlights…. (more to be added soon!)
To those who made my birthday special, even with a simple FB post, thank you. I love you, sweet friends! xo