on birthdays

Oh birthdays! Who knew I could learn so much simply from one celebratory day?

At this moment, I’m enjoying the first quiet minutes of the day. Both boys are chatting quietly in the corner (amazing!), supper is planned by my sweet SisIL, and I have my celebratory glass of J Lohr beside me. My hair is half-brushed and I’m wearing a black knit piece which I’m convinced can pass for a sweater dress, as long as I don’t wear it past the door.

It’s been a good day.
With the whole house empty (something fairly rare in this clan) I was able to gift the boys with hours of quiet play, slow chores, and sprawling cuddles in the sunshine upstairs. We read some pages, attempted a bath, and watched a glimpse of a show between Knightley’s unexpected fussiness and mixed up nap times.

But the above wasn’t what taught me what I needed to know about birthdays.
That came last night.

I’ve alluded to but not really focused on, some of the imbalance of sleep, hormones, and transitional emotions within my current inner life and outer expressions. This distinct mix does, however, color my daily interactions, perceptions, and quiet moments. Last evening was especially ‘colored’ as my husband and I engaged in a conversation of desires, expectations, and reactions surrounding personal celebrations such as birthdays.
Long story short? His stretched mind is often elsewhere these days as he wrestles with his studies and new role, and his approach to life, while incredibly willing to give and engage, more often than not needs things clearly stated and not quietly hoped for or hinted at. The initial conversation (quickly cleared up as we recognized some misunderstandings) led to a deeper conversation on the opportunity a birthday can bring.
A birthday is a celebration of life; a person, a presence on earth at a certain point in history, a birth and continuing journey. More importantly however, it’s the opportunity for the birth-person to GIVE! The person being celebrated was gifted with life and the hope of another year, the marker of greater age and (hopefully) wisdom. Now comes the opportunity to engage the community and to celebrate the roles of others in that life and to give back.
A couple of years ago we began a tradition (from Uncle Ry) on giving gifts to others on our birthdays. This year, J received an aged copy of Les Miserables, and The House received breakfast.  After further conversation last night though we decided that (beginning with J’s birthday in June) we’re going to grow this a bit more and invite the Celebrated person to prepare and serve the official ‘birthday meal’, if they desire. This gesture, while still celebrating the life of that person and inviting gifts and pleasure, encourages the person to cultivate the beauty of giving, selflessness, and community.

For tonight though (oh blessed me!) I get to sit and enjoy the culinary efforts of that aforementioned sister-in-law who is preparing me both dinner and cake, as well as gifting me with a phenomenal night away next weekend (which I’m sure will be a post in itself, at least for the Papa left with the babies! 😉 )

Anyways. Happy Birthday to me. May I learn to be a more positive presence, a more generous giver, a woman growing in wisdom, a person rich the Good, the True, the Beautiful.

Oh, and of course, the birthday give-away!
I would like to gift one of you with that wonderful BBC version of Pride &Prejudice! (The best one so far, in my opinion). I first began viewing this piece with my dear girl Mel’, and have since acquired an extra copy (viewed once). I thought it would be an appropriate gift to share since Austen’s work was such an influencing presence in my life this past year. Leave a comment and share your thoughts on celebrations, birthdays, and that beautiful and challenging discipline of living to celebrate others. Or just say hello! Jmiah will draw the winner on Friday.

Best to you my friends…..



8 Responses to “on birthdays”
  1. Lola says:

    Happy Birthday Dea’!!! It sounds like it was wonderful.

    Birthdays are interesting in our household as I am not really that into them. I’m learning though how fun they can be and what great reflection and celebration can come from them. My husband loves his birthday and Gifts in particular. I’m learning to give them. ( I’m totally a “quality time” girl but apparently he’s a “gift giver/receiver”)

    I understand what you mean by “colored” discussion.

    Blessings on your evening!

  2. Kmarie says:

    I already have the movie- but I wanted to wish you a year of beauty, integrity and fun. I love you and appreciate your friendship. You have added thought, structure, and camaraderie to my life. I still love your facial expression when you find something thought worthy. It is frozen forever in my mind as the uniqueness of you.
    Happy birthday dear Friend!
    Love you.

  3. ilophoto says:

    I wish you a happy birthday my friend from afar….
    We will sing happy birthday to you at our house today


  4. Kimberly Busby says:

    My friends and I started a beautiful tradition a few years ago. On or near the birthday girl’s special day, we whisk her away for a little lunch, tea, or trip to the local hot springs for some pressure free girl time. Several in my circle are in tough transitions or have hard family times and this gives us time to just love on them away, from any pressures or expectations.

  5. thismama says:

    I love, love, love birthdays! Not so much the gifts but the chance to totally celebrate by doing meaningful things:). We also love traditions and one of those is to give to others on our birthdays…this will be the first year that Aneliese will get it and I am excited!

  6. Jon Koroscil says:

    1 day to CELEBRATE the person
    Pamper them
    Encourage them
    make them feel even more special then the average day
    Unselfishly give to them……

    Others want to serve you on your day cause you are special and loved….let them, enjoy it.

    Those I love I want to serve and they will get it every birthday of their lives, because i love them.

  7. Kmarie says:

    aahhh- I love what Jon had to say. I have to agree. It is probably a bit of both- but as a spouse I would rather pamper my loved one on their birthday instead of have them do stuff for me. But I guess it is just preference:)

    • Dea' says:

      Haha, I know, me too, and that’s rad. I guess the challenge is more what we expect for ourselves on our own birthday. Pampering others on their bdays will always remain on my ‘things to do’, so Jer’s stuck with that 😉

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