This year I had some different feelings about my birthday. For the past decade or so I’ve done a dinner night out with friends and family. Often gathering at the River Rail in Shiocton or The Waters in New London. The groups varied in size from year to year and reflected friendships formed during all different phases in my life. One time it was made up of my college friends and co-workers, another year all my high school girlfriends made it out. No matter the size of the event, no matter who attended- I’ve always had a great time celebrating my birthday.
It goes all the way back to my childhood parties. I can recall the anticipation of waiting for all the guests to arrive. And once the gifts were opened and the cake was eaten you would think I would have been disappointed that it was over. But I never was- because my birthday was just the beginning. I knew I still had the entire summer ahead of me and that meant freedom and possibilities. And every year, after everyone had gone home, I would sit on my parents porch watching the first fireflies of the season light a path towards me from the fields.
But this year I had a change of heart about my birthday celebration. A lot has happened in the past 12 months and although I know I should be moving on and making every moment count with new memories- I wanted to hold onto the memory of last years birthday a little longer. Last year’s birthday was the last true moment of happiness and ignorance before the reality about about how short life can be played out in several heart wrenching ways.
In all the times I thought about how little it bothered me to add another candle to my cake, I never considered that I wasn’t the only one getting older.
And I hadn’t prepared myself for what those goodbyes would feel like.
Of course, there are goodbyes you could never prepare yourself for. Not in a million years.
As I turn another year other I want to be positive. I want to tell you some inspirational story of how I overcame it all and how I’m a better stronger person today than I was a year ago in all my unsuspecting bliss. But the truth is…I’m still working on it.
I’m still working on it.
So this year I spent my birthday watching rain clouds fill an inflatable pool in my parents yard. I drank sangria from mason jars and decorated a cake with berries. I let Nick take me on a muddy go kart ride through the field…
And when the sun came out we fired up the grill and I waded in that icy cold pool water, cursing the meteorologist prediction of a 90 degree day…
But I hugged my family, opened my presents, blew out my candles and ate my cake…
I turned another year older.
And as Nick and I got into the truck to go home that night he paused…and drew my attention to the lightening bugs flickering in my parents field. We stood in awe for a moment, as the hundred tiny lights made their way towards us in what I can only assume was nature’s way of wishing me a Happy Birthday.
And just like that- I was a child again- in wonder of this beautiful magical world.
With a summer of possibilities ahead of me.
I’m working on it…