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In which we celebrate us!


I went through a phase in college where I didn’t want people to know it was my birthday except my ‘friends of the right hand’. I don’t know why it was such a big deal to me… actually, now that I think about it, I was sick of insincerity and didn’t want anyone to simple say ‘happy birthday’ because it was the thing to say. I also didn’t want people to have an excuse to embarass me– people that didn’t deeply care about me in the first place. I’ve gotten more diplomatic with age and I can now smile and thank someone who wishes me a happy birthday even if they aren’t deeply sincere about it.

The phrase ‘happy birthday’ has just become so over-used and in many ways, meaningless, like so many other phrases we find ourselves saying. Sometimes, instead of doling out the standard ‘happy birthday’ I will say ‘happy day that celebrates you’. Isn’t that essentially what we are doing on one’s birthday? Celebrating life? We are saying, ‘I’m so glad you were born… you add joy to this life.’ When I think of it this way, the meaninglessness fades away and instead is replaced by a heart-warming truth.

It was my birthday last Saturday. I was speaking with a woman who is about my mum’s age and she was saying that there seems to come a time in one’s life, as they age and mature, where we stop expecting our birthdays to be magical. I’m sure she’s right and I’m sure that some people reach that place at a much younger age than others; but I must say, I’m not there yet. I want the magic. And I don’t think I ever want to not want it. But I’ve also spent a lot of October 11ths disappointed. Now, I try not to expect too much. But the joy of the day that is as familiar to me as the face staring back in the mirror still creeps up on me. And I can’t help hoping that the day will be a little more special than others.

This year was full of jewels: a crisp sunny day, a walk through the autumn leaves in the morning, a quiet hour at a coffeeshop, a fabulous ‘John-brunch’, songs from little people, lovely gifts. In the afternoon Aria and I went to a hilly woodland area with other women in our church– a women’s outing to celebrate autumn. The weather was scrumptious. Aria and I led a small group along a trail which led to a high mound aptly named ‘The Windy Hill’. Aria bravely climbed it by my side and only asked to be carried twice (I swung her to my shoulders, but thankfully she wanted down before even a minute elapsed). The top of the hill was swarming with strong winds and a sudden rainfall pelted us with stinging raindrops, so we took a couple pictures and then raced back down the hill. The rain cloud quickly hurried on it’s way, leaving us with the sun once again. We had a barbeque in a semi-covered hut where we ate spiced apple pieces cooked to tenderness which we dipped in melted chocolate…mmm! We also ate a variety of nuts and had hot apple cider– a lovely Fall fare. The women surprised myself and the other woman whose birthday was that day with a homemade chocolate cake decked out in candles. The day ended with John taking me out to dinner to a restaurant in Glasgow called ‘The Butterfly and The Pig’– a place that glories in uniqueness and fresh, delicious food. 

And even though I did a whole pile of dishes after brunch, I felt celebrated all day long:-).

3 Responses to “In which we celebrate us!”

  1. Jessica
    October 17th, 2008 15:54

    i’m so glad you had such a lovely birthday… i wish i could have shared it with you! i love making birthdays ‘magical’ too and always look forward to them – and i don’t like to tell everyone either! i think the reason some people stop expecting magic may be because of the insincerity that unfortunately does accompany the phrase ‘happy birthday’ at times. it’s good that you had a wonderful ‘day that celebrates you’. love you.

  2. Beth Goff
    October 18th, 2008 22:34


    As far as I’m concerned birthdays are always a time to celebrate with family and/or friends. Sometimes I think I don’t really want people to know about my birthday….cause I don’t want them to feel obligated to get me a card or gift. This year I received soooo many emails and phone calls, I felt really appreciated. It IS nice to be remembered on your special day…even if it doesn’t feel magical. We’re so many miles away from you now that we rarely get to celebrate birthdays together. I felt so privileged to have our birthdays together last year….along with Nathaniel too….very special. We will get to celebrate with Caleb….imagine, he and Leilani have never been together for birthdays yet. I enjoyed your writing.

  3. Jayne
    November 6th, 2008 14:57

    Happy Belated Birthday. You still haven’t talked John into a whole birthday month? I am so glad you were born.

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