Birthdays were the most exciting day of the year when I was a child. Even better than Christmas. My mother would decorate a tall wooden chair in the dining room with streamers and balloons for the honored one. There would be presents waiting wrapped with bows at the throne. It was magical and I wished it would last forever. It was the one day of the year that I truly felt like I was worth celebrating. Like I was special.
It wasn’t even about what I actually got (well, ok….gifts are good) but it was about the fact that it was my day. The day that I, me, Marlies, the one and the only, came to be. And no one could take that away from me.
We celebrated with after school birthday parties. My mom would organize games while dad put the frosting on a homemade masterpiece. Ice cream would bring the wonderful afternoon to a close. Then came slumber parties with pizza, movies and friends. It slowly became more about who came than why. My special day became more about other people’s feelings and the magic started to slip away. I thank my family for always making my birthday mornings special. To this day they have engrained in my mind that it was to be celebrated that I was born.
Life went on and I met several birthday twins. I even dated one once…for about 2 weeks. (Two Pisces just don’t work….talk about swimming upstream.) At first I was a bit taken aback about this birthday sharing business. I always thought the date of March 12 was mine. I felt very proprietary. But as years went by, and champagne parties came and went, I started to get back to what I felt as a child. Special. Knowing that even with all these others born the same day none of them were born the same me.
So now I still make it my “me” day whether alone or with friends and family. I still do what I want (or don’t…helloooo cooking) but it’s not about the gifts, it’s not about the streamers (although I have been known to toss a little glitter on the 12th of March in my own honor), it’s not even about the age. It’s about being grateful for being here, feeling blessed and wondering for the 308,547th time…why I came to be on this particular day 44 years ago.
It’s realizing that I have a whole other half of a life to live (at least!) and not wasting time on the years gone by but looking ahead, using what I have learned for good from now on. It’s looking at the world with bright new eyes each year. Bring grateful. And learning that I need to be the one to celebrate most the day that I was born.
So as I sit here quietly on this beautiful sunny day, I wish myself a Happy Birthday.
Happy birthday to my heart. May we forge ahead for another year and bring ourselves and our family joy. Happy birthday to my body. We shall eat cake but balance it with walks in the sunshine and stretches in the grass. Happy birthday to my mind. May we quiet down and lay on the grass as soon as it is dry and watch that big open sky for shooting stars. Happy birthday to my spirit. Let’s begin this new year with energy and enthusiasm….even if we have to fake it ’til we make it.
Happy birthday to me. With gratitude that while I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, I have been given the precious opportunity to search, to try, to live and someday to find out.