Sunday was my birthday, 43 years! It was a great day, a day of friends and family, good food and fun gifts. What better way to begin a birthday than worshipping the Lord I love with people I love? After church we had lunch with my good friend and her family, a joint celebration of both our birthdays, mine on Sunday, hers on Monday. And of course we had cake!
I also enjoyed birthday greetings and well wishes via email and text, phone call and Facebook, hugs and even announcements from the pulpit. I am so grateful for such an outpouring of sentiment! How could I not have had a good day?
Birthdays at this juncture in life often prompt a good deal of reflection and remembrance on the part of the celebrator. I can’t help but think of birthdays past, the traditions and excitement of my childhood celebrations as well as the transition to more “grown up” observances. When my sister and I were girls, my mom made us “doll cakes” for our birthdays, an elaborately decorated bundt cake serving as the skirt of a Barbie figurine. They were always so beautiful to me, almost too beautiful to eat! She would also sew a birthday dress to the birthday girl’s specifications. What fun to go to the fabric store several days pre-birthday and pore over the pattern books, then picking the perfect fabric for the perfect dress. The birthday honoree also got to pick the restaurant for the birthday meal, though it seems in my memory we all always picked Red Lobster.
I have few memories of specific birthday celebrations. I do remember the year my sister (without much prying) confessed to me every single one of my gifts. I remember us standing in the tree house and she (not so very) reluctantly telling me of the surprises that awaited, though now I can only remember one: a Laverne and Shirley board game. Why that particular gift stands out in my mind, who knows?
I also remember the year I got pantyhose, the first step toward womanhood–or so I thought. In my excitement and surprise of that birthday, I could not imagine a day (like now, at 43) when I wouldn’t even own a pair much less wear any within the last decade! I also remember my twelfth birthday (I think), when my best friend gave me a small zippered bag containing blush, mascara and cherry flavored lip gloss. Makeup!! I remember my mom’s look of dismay when I showed her and her warning that we would have to check with my dad to see what he thought. I suppose he gave his consent; I never knew otherwise if he did not. I think I understand now, these many years later, her look of dismay.
I remember my first birthday away from home as a college freshman at Baylor University. The girls who lived in the dorm room across the hall threw me a surprise party of sorts; these same girls would a couple of years later come into my room in our condo we were renting and sing to me despite my protestations that my birthday really was on the fourth and not the second of September!
Later birthdays are more of a blur; I do recall my birthday sixteen years ago when I was, shall we say, great with child. He was due on the third but wouldn’t make his arrival until he was forced to do so on the twelfth. More recent birthdays are more often than not marked by football games and soccer practices and the like. Every so often we all enjoy a three day holiday on my birthday like this past weekend! Regardless, my men sing to me and hug me and tell me they love me and these are the best birthday celebrations.
I am thankful for 43 years of life. I am glad for the perspective that 43 years bring. I am so grateful for the multitude of blessings that the Lord in His grace has granted to me over the course of my life. I see His sovereignty and in His sovereignty I see His goodness. I am humbled. I am glad. I am grateful.