Birthdays are a big deal for me. They mark the very most important dates in my life, they are the days my children and husband were born.
The Hubs never wants a fuss, but I always ignore that. His birth is miraculous. Because of it, I got to become a wife and a mother.
My little son is a lot like his dad. He enjoys his birthday, but mostly because he gets to pick the restaurant and his family comes to celebrate with him.
But Bodacious, oh, she is just like her momma! We love to party. In fact, I forced The Hubs to celebrate my birthday and half birthday until my late 30's. Then one birthday was enough, not just because I was getting older but because I finally had children of my own to celebrate.
This week, my baby turned nine. Nine. Sigh. Her last year in the single digits. I don’t know where the time went, because she should really only be about three years old. But here we are, tweening hardcore.
Bodacious likes to celebrate her birthday in a big way and I am happy to accommodate her! I made funfetti pancakes for her birthday breakfast, like I do every year. Then, I took treats and magic wands for class snack because she is really into Harry Potter. Next, we had family dinner at one of her favorite Mexican food spots, Abuelo’s. On Saturday, we brought the birthday week festivities to a close with pizza and crafts for 25 of her closest friends from church and school.
She feigned embarrassment when I sang Happy Birthday to her, because that is like, so lame. But secretly, she loved it. Unlike her dad and big brother, she adores it when people make a big fuss over her.
I know It may seem a little like overkill, but as I mentioned, I really love birthdays. Some people feel called to do a certain kind of work, driven by their need to create art, design buildings, or help people. Other people spend years trying to figure out their purpose, wondering what God’s plan is for them.
But not me. I know exactly what I am called to do -- be a mother. Pretty simple. Be all in for the mess and the merry. Doing my best to raise happy and good children, that’s my lifework. On the days my children were born, so was my purpose. And I think it’s worth celebrating.
On Tuesday morning, I ran to the grocery store for a quick store-bought cake and candles. I was desperately trying to buy wrapping paper and all the last-minute things I still needed before the weather turned rotten. But I didn’t quite make it. I was standing in the parking lot when freezing drizzle started coming down on my head. My hands were full, holding that beautiful buttercream cake, my oversized tote and two bags of groceries and I couldn’t get the car door open.
I have one of those infernal electric keys that the car is supposed to sense, but it never works right. I looked around for a place to set my things down, but couldn’t find a suitable spot. There was oil on the ground and rain on my car hood. I didn’t want to ruin my new purse or get the cake wet.
Suddenly, a woman in bright pink scrubs popped out of the car next to me and asked if she could hold the cake for me while I rooted around for my keys.
Normally I would say no, but sometimes you just have to accept kindness from strangers. I thanked her profusely and told her the cake was for my baby girl’s birthday, I just couldn’t risk ruining it! She told me she understood, she had a 1-year-old and a 5-year-old at home, and that she too, loved being a mom.
“Happy birthday to your daughter,” she said as she handed the cake back to me. “And happy birth day to you, too. I hope this year is wonderful for you both.”
So beautiful, God’s perfect timing. And if this chance encounter is any kind of indication about how this year is going to go, how could it not be wonderful? I didn’t get her name, we were both ready to get out of the cold and wet, but I really wish that I had! If you happen to see this, sweet mom in pink scrubs, thank you for helping me and encouraging me! I hope this is a wonderful year for your children and your motherhood, too!