Another 16th of August
When I was a kid I remember being so excited for birthdays.
Parties with friends and presents and stay-up-all-night sleepover madness.
I see it in kids now. How the countdown starts six months in advance and how detailed preparations for the next year begin immediately after the party ends.
And then we grow up. The excitement for birthdays is lost.
Now we are approached with dread. We start saying things like “I’m getting old” as though getting older is a bad thing. Age is a running joke to one woman I know. When her daughter turned 25, she sighed dramatically and said, “I guess I have to turn 26 this year.”
When I say, “Happy birthday” to kids they grin and say “Thank you!” When I say the same thing to adults I get a shrug as though to say, birthdays . . . what can you do?
I had to stay up till late in the night and thought, today is my birthday.
All I felt was an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I filled my cup with some cold chocolate drink and sat down to write in awe that I’m still here to do those things.
I’m not kid-excited.
Birthdays mean more than presents and parties to me now.
But I’m not sorry to be a year older either.
After the many dramas in my life, celebrating another birthday is like being handed something bright and fragile and infinitely precious. And I stare down at this thing with which I have been entrusted and feel no small measure of surprise that I have been given another one.
Today is my birthday.
Happy birthday to me.