I am of the opinion that birthdays stink. Oh, don’t get me wrong, birthday’s when you are 5 or 6 are terrific; balloons, streamers, presents and friends to share in the momentous occasion. But when you turn 40, the balloons have lost their helium, the streamers have gotten dusty in the attic somewhere, the presents are fewer, and the friends are busy with their own families. My birthday this year has been at best, a downer. The phone has been turned off, my cell phone is dead, my day has been busy with cleaning up kids that can’t make it to the potty, and laundry of the above-mentioned stinky clothes.
I can’t even post this to my blog because the internet has been disconnected.
I was told by Hubby last night, (not in these same words, but the same message), that I was halfway to dead. That is why forty is such a big milestone for some people, because most people live to be 80 or so, so when the milestone, (or headstone rather) is reached, you are “halfway there,” “reached the top of the hill”, there is “no turning back,” “it’s all downhill from here!”
My day has come to this, gleaning the dredges of the bottom of the bread bin at the food bank. The highlight of the excursion was the halfhearted attempt of several tone-deaf food bank volunteers trying to sing the traditional birthday dirge, leaving the “name space” blank with a wave of the hand for me to fill in my own name. I should have said Sheila instead of my real name; it would have been just as personal.
Well, life goes on, (comforting, isn’t it?) We age, and we grow and hopefully mature past the need to have a balloon-infested, streamer-waving grand birthday occasion. Life should be full of simple things, a sweet hug from your 4 year old; a sweet little hand patting on the back when you pick up the baby; the next door neighbor rearranging her schedule in order to take you out for an impromptu birthday lunch. The joys of seeing kids get along, the smile on your husband’s face when he has enjoyed a meal. So I didn’t get a new bottle of perfume for my birthday, big deal; at this point I’d rather pay the phone bill. So I didn’t get an elaborate dinner out with my husband; right now, I’d just like to feed my family nutritious meals. So I can’t take the family out to celebrate at a weekend resort with catered meals and bellhops to jump at your every command, but my kids know the difference between right and wrong, they know when someone is being a bully, they know how to comfort a sibling, they can change a diaper in a pinch, and bathe a child.
So I guess in retrospect, for my birthday, I’d rather have food in my cupboard, warm clothes for my children, and a good roof over my head. I’d rather celebrate with my family around me and blow out some candles with a neighbor, who invited herself over so that I wouldn’t be alone on my birthday, and watch all 15 of our kids playing Twister and Ants in the Pants together instead of a romantic dinner and expensive presents. When it comes right down to it, “happy birthday” is all in your mind, it is a choice, it doesn’t matter that there is no phone service, (actually, it’s kind of nice not having it bug me all the time,) it doesn’t matter that there is no new bottle of perfume on the bathroom counter, (it would only get dusty and create clutter anyway.) I know that I am cared for, pampered on occasion, and loved.
My family loves me, my children love me, my husband loves me, and I even have some pretty nice neighbors who think I’m ok. But most importantly, God loves me and died to give me Eternal life. I was chosen before the foundation of time to be His and that is an overwhelming thought. God loved me before I was even born, enough to send his own son to die and pay the penalty of my sin. That indeed is what matters most, and birthdays don’t actually stink after all.