Celebrating my birthday always makes me feel nostalgic. I was turning 6 in this picture. I see so much when I look at this photo. The 1970’s digs everyone was rocking. My beloved home owned by my parents in Montbello, an area of Denver, Co. That warm October day when we could have the party outside is so telling, as just yesterday I scraped snow off my car, but today’s temps will rest in the 70’s seemingly just for my day. The friends who came out to celebrate with me that I still hold dear today. That half smile with big cheeks expression that my son now makes. And then there’s my big poofy pink dress that I remember spinning in circles in. This picture shows a good day, a beautiful day, however my childhood was filled with a lot of turmoil, inconsistencies and instability. My mom however, (shown standing on the far left, big hips and all, lol), was big on birthdays and birthday parties. She always made those days so special for me. And now that she’s passed away coming up on 13 years ago, those celebrations are all the more special.
Birthday parties, birthday shout outs, and birthday gifts have become common and cliche, but in actuality birthdays are sacred. The celebrating of your coming into being is a big deal. That was the day that God saw fit to have you here, that means that you have more value and worth than you can probably imagine. For me I’m coming to terms with that value. There has been so much that has happened since this picture was taken that has caused me to question my very existence and value. I know I’m not alone in that line of questioning. But today I’m reflecting on how far I’ve come. This is one of the first years where that reflection, and having a relaxing day at home is enough celebration for me, genuinely. There’s no way anyone else other than me and the Holy Spirit can be present for this. It’s far too deep, far too intimate. That moment when you grieve your past while sitting in amazement that you lived through it. And you lived through it with your mind and spirit still in tact, no excuse me, with your mind and spirit stronger in spite of it, it’s quite amazing really.
So while I nurse an injury of cutting the tip of my finger off less than 24 hours ago, not my idea of birthday magic, I choose to celebrate today. I will celebrate in my own way, with India Arie’s Private Party playing in my ears. This is the true celebration of life and living it. “I’m having a private party, learning how to love me, celebrating the woman I’ve become.”
Thank you to my big sis, my girl, my ace for celebrating this bday with me. I haven’t celebrated a birthday in 5 years and pregnant with my son. This feels like a new start to some new days. Thanks to her for showing so much love and hospitality while I visited her and her lovely husband, you’ve blessed me more than you know!
Two years ago I hit a milestone. I joined the 40/40 club. At that time I wrote a little doo-hickey, the 40 things I learned by 40. Since then I have experienced the most trying years of my life by far. So I thought it appropriate to add 2 more gems I’ve gathered in these additional two years.
41.) Family are not only those united by blood, family are those united by heart.
I know that I don’t know all things.
I know how to balance confidence with humility.
I know how to give a compliment.
I know how to be my own cheerleader.
I know how to discipline a child in one moment and play with him the next.
I know how to nurse a boo boo.
I know how to encourage you to nurse your own boo boos.
I know how to see the silver lining.
I know how to call a spade a spade.
I know how to make an omelette.
I know how to remove a stain.
I know how to perform through exhaustion.
I know how to be here while reaching for where I’m going.
I know how to laugh loud without embarrassment.
I know how to walk into a public restroom and never touch a single surface with my hands.
I know how to make a friend laugh through tears.
I know how to be present with people.
I know how to be alone.
I know how to choose my battles.
I know that the battle is not mine.
I know how to get my Ms Corporate America on.
I know how to get my Ms Round the Way Girl on.
I know how to be reasonable.
I know how to deal with difficult people.
I know how to stand alone in my own belief.
I know how to not take on your problems as my own, while yet emphasizing with your pain.
I know how to laugh at my own pain.
I know how to have a party all by myself.
I know how to cut a rug at your party.
I know how to worship God.
I know what a real relationship with God is.
I know the love of God.
I know how to love.
I know how to walk away and love from a distance.
I know how to forgive.
I know how to ask for forgiveness.
I know how to set boundaries.
I know how to welcome you in.
I know how to be afraid and do it anyway.
And I know how to thank you for just celebrating my 40th birthday with me.