“A happy birthday is measured not in the amount of gifts one gets, but in the amount love one receives.”
Today I turn thirteen!
I look at my watch. Quarter to three in the morning. Still another three hours before everyone is awake and up. I thump my pillow and lie back down. My excitement is intense. Birthday mornings have always been a sheer delight in our family. Particularly when it is the birthday morning of an almost teenager!
At a quarter to six I hear Mum in the kitchen making coffee and hot chocolate. These will
be placed on a tray together with raisin-rusks – my favourite! And there will be a birthday rose placed in the little crystal vase. I hope Mum has remembered that the yellow rose is my favourite. Mum and my brother and sisters will carry in my presents, with Dad and the tray bringing up the rear. I hear Mum whispering: “Okay, everyone ready? All right then, one, two, three….Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you….”
My family comes into the birthday girl’s bedroom singing loudly, their arms present laden!
Sigh…how I have always loved birthdays!
I know people that don’t celebrate their birthday. Why celebrate another year added on to their lives? They would far rather pretend that they are not a year older. On the other hand, I have friends that are battling cancer that relish the idea of growing older, of adding years to their lives. For goodness sakes, getting older is part of living. I love birthdays. I always have and I always will.
The day before my birthday this year, I was on the bus returning from gym. The woman next to me suddenly blurted out: “What is the date today?”
“The 29th,” I answered.
“I have a doctors appointment tomorrow. I nearly forgot, ” she explained.
“I also have an appointment tomorrow. It’s my birthday,” I laughed. “That is something I definitely won’t forget.”
“It was my birthday last week. I don’t have any family left now. And…well, I didn’t tell my friends. So it was a day like any other,” she finished.
“That is such a shame!” I exclaimed. “You must tell your friends. You can’t let a year just slip by. One has to…has to acknowledge and celebrate it. Please put that right for next year?” I begged.
She laughed softly and looked out the window.
Somehow that woman seems to be denying herself something. I’m not sure what it is but I think she is the poorer for it. It made me realise how fortunate I am to still have family and friends that know when it is my birthday and definitely won’t let me forget. I won’t let them forget!
On my birthday this year, I woke up and was lying in bed with my eyes shut. I suddenly had this incredible longing for my father. Tears sprang to my eyes. I missed him so badly at that moment. I believe that his spirit was there with me in the room at that instant. It was as if he had come to plant a warm kiss on my forehead and then…..he was gone!
It was so wonderful opening up Facebook on my birthday. I received 290 messages from people all around the world. People who remembered me and cared. I love living in today’s age of social media. I think back forty years before personal computers even existed, never mind Facebook. Would I have received 290 birthday cards? Laugh – definitely not!
When I turned thirty Shirley (Johnson) and Dave gave me this massive birthday party where I had about a hundred friends and family around to celebrate. Nineteen months earlier death and life had been playing tag with me after my accident. Life had managed to outrun death. That party was a joyous celebration for that thirty year old woman.
How can it now be twenty-four years later?
I remember Dad turning fifty. I thought to myself: ‘Fifty years old! Whew, Dad, you are practically over the hill!’
Now Dad’s daughter has just turned fifty-four! Where does the time go? And why does it seem to move so quickly? When I was a child, time seemed to drag by. Now you don’t even see it for dust!
Which is why we must treasure each day we have of this beautiful, frustrating, wonderful, horrifying, incredibly marvellous thing called life. Celebrate birthdays – our 21st, our 90th and every one in between! After all, our birthdays make up who we are!
I love this anonymous quote about birthdays. It says it all:
“Do not count the candles but notice the light they give. Do not count the years; look at the life you live.”