BIRTHDAY MUSINGS Yesterday was my 27th birthday. Usually, I don't make a big deal out of my birthday. I don't expect a lot of fanfare, and the last few years, have even fought off negative feelings about getting older. Before any of you who are older than me roll your eyes, I would like to acknowledge that I don't think 27 is old. The negativity has been more about the fact that my life is FLYING by and I just can't believe how quickly it is going.
It seems to be a common thing, that the older we get, the more we dread another birthday. We have "over the hill" parties, when someone turns 40. We moan the fact that we are getting older...women especially, seem to have a hard time with this. It is OK to throw a man an "over the hill" party, but you had better be veeerrry careful throwing a woman one, and make sure she has a good sense of humor!
Anyway, I was thinking about all this in the days leading up to my birthday. In my head, I thought "27!!! That is only 3 years from 30!!!! Argh!!" But I began to examine my thoughts more closely. I was angsting about turning a year older. But what is the alternative? Um, being DEAD! When I celebrate a birthday, I am celebrating that I was given another year to LIVE!!! Would I rather NOT have another birthday, NOT turn a year older? Um, NO.
So, this year, I decided to change my attitude. From here on out, whether I have the privilege of celebrating one more birthday, or seventy, I am going to be THANKFUL, and GRATEFUL, and EXCITED. Another year older means I am wiser, have more memories and experiences, more time with my family, and I am ALIVE.
And on that note, my 27th birthday was great. Really great. In a simple, unfussy, glad-to-be-here great. I felt so loved and it was so encouraging to me. From numerous phone calls, emails, facebook messages, I was reminded how fortunate I am to have so many kind people in my life. My dear friend, Charlotte, rallied seven of my nearest and dearest to buy me these. I was thrilled! Not only by the shoes themselves (and the fun I will have tromping around in the yard in them) but by their generosity and friendship.
On Saturday night, Mom made my special birthday dinner, with all my favorite foods. Shrimp and Grits with sausage, sauteed mushrooms, white wine, and peach cheesecake. OH.MY.GOODNESS. It was wonderful.
Sunday morning, my two youngest woke up with fevers, so I stayed home from church with them. For a moment, I was tempted to throw myself a pity party "I have to stay home with sick kids on my BIRTHDAY". But, I snapped out of it, and had a wonderful, semi-relaxing morning with my boys. It was a gorgeous day, with sick little boys who wanted to be snuggled (who are usually MUCH too busy to take time for that!). My hubby came home from church with an adorable mini-cake, that my friend Amanda had baked for me. Green piped icing with "happy birthday Laurel" on top. It was delicious, and such a thoughtful gesture. In the evening, Matt stayed home from church to help me with the boys, and we took a walk together through the neighborhood. The boys stopped to pick me flowers and taste honeysuckle.
I am very bad about marking events and giving gifts. It is definitely not one of my strengths. But this birthday has really showed me how meaningful it can be to a person. My "love language" is not giving or receiving gifts...I enjoy them, but don't live for them. But, I can't tell you how much the wellies and the cake, and Mom taking the time to make a special dinner, and all the other things people did, meant to me. It was so, so encouraging. And it makes me want to be more mindful to do things, big or small, for my friends. I want them to feel really appreciated and loved. Like I did, on my birthday. I am going to be giving this more thought over the next few days. I love this idea. I find simpler gifts more meaningful. A gift that really shows that you pay attention to what the gift giver would like. I mentioned months ago to Charlotte that I would love to have those green Wellies. I was as touched by the fact that she remembered me saying that, as I was by the gift itself.
Do you have a specific gift or act of kindness that sticks out in your mind? What made it special?
*image from chicagohoneycoop on flickr.com