Birthdays come every year on the same day, at the same time, regardless of what is going on in the world or in my world. My birthdays remind me that I am alive, loved, and give me a chance to reflect a bit. Like the fall season, it brings new beginnings, a harvest of fresh ideas and resources, and the richness and beauty of the changing of the leaves. My birthdays have been happy, sad, important, and small. Birthdays mean getting older, wiser, a bit calmer, and accepting my lines and scars. Tonight, I reflect on a few birthdays, and celebrate my breath, my life, and my place in this world.
I was born on September 27, 1976... my father's fourth child, and his only girl, and my mother's first. I was named after a cat that was brought into my dad's animal hospital. My dad was a veterinarian, and my mom worked along side him throughout her pregnancy. Animals were very important to them, so it makes sense that I was named after one. It is funny that I am allergic to cats, but appreciate the namesake nonetheless.
For my second birthday my mom wanted to buy me a party dress. She took me to the store and asked which one I liked the best. My response was this, "If I get a party dress, then I will only be able to wear it once. If I get a dress with a vest, then I can wear it to preschool, to play, and at my party." My mom stared at me, stunned. She wanted to buy me a princess dress. I wanted a practical dress that I could use for other occasions. I loved that dress with a vest, and my mom most certainly got her money's worth by purchasing it.
Growing up, I was very blessed to travel a great deal. I learned to love adventures and exploring, and while my family and I were in Europe for six months, I turned three. I thought it was the coolest thing that I got to celebrate a birthday in Kettenbach, Germany. Although I only really remember my red snow suit and the cobblestone streets, I have fun filling in the rest with pictures and stories.
My life changed forever just after my sixth birthday. That was my last birthday with my dad. He died of cancer three months later on December 27th. I was too young to understand what was happening, but I know that the age of six is forever ingrained into my existence.
Turning nine meant moving to Riverside... a new city, new school, and a new long bus ride. Fun birthdays were shared with friends and really bad hair! For my sixteenth birthday, my mom planned a surprise party. I hated surprises, and I sure let her know it. Sorry, mom. I have a feeling I will one day know what that feels like from a mom's point of view. I turned 18 in college, and I was the only one on my college volleyball team who needed a parent's signature for the various paper wok.
I knew when I turned 23 that I it would be my last birthday as just me. I felt change coming, as I often do, and since #24, birthdays have been spent with close family and friends, my husband, and our three beautiful babies. Today, I turn 35. My life is full. My children are healthy. My marriage is strong. I am lucky. There is constant change in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 35 is going to be a good year, and I am blessed to welcome it in with the cool autumn breeze.