Birthdays are “lines in the sand” for me. Markers of time. Like a 4 year old, I look forward to and countdown the days until my birthday. It’s kind of fun to have the attention on you and be the focus of the day. I know that sounds really self-centered, narcissistic and really inapproriate to say, but I’ll admit it here and be done with it. Needless to say, Matt did a mighty good job giving me the best 37th birthday. And, as you can see, Alex is trying to relive it daily. He made me a special birthday dinner (see picture above) and since he didn’t have a cake in his wooden food repertoire, he found a picture of one in his cookbook to display. Added candles (tea lights and huge ones) and set up all of my birthday cards. So sweet….or maybe a hint of what he’s expecting Friday when he turns 4?
As I relished in the facebook, email, cards in the mail, & phone messages, I was so struck this year with the array of people God’s placed in my life. Students from my teaching days. Youth group kids (now ADULTS!) from First Presbyterian in Berkeley. Friends from Breckenridge days. Westminster Woods alumni, friends and campers (from the 1993-1996 era and then again from 2008-2010). Teaching colleagues from Marin Elementary. Friends from elementary, middle & high school in Olympia, WA. And crazies from Western Washington University. So many places and experiences. The chance to be part of the lives of incredible kids, students, summer staffers, peers & communities.
And now, these 3 are my “to infinity and beyond” companions.
Doesn’t mean that the communities I’ve lived in, worked amongst and taught aren’t important or on my mind. But life has just shifted. Physically and emotionally and day-to-day. Moments of creativity, acting and drama look a little different….
Camping looks a little different than at Westminster Woods….
Not sure why we didn’t encourage these guys to come to Sherwood….
I’m sure a Scottish Smurf, an astronaut and Mickey Mouse would have loved camp.
Some days I get very nostalgic for birthdays past. For locations, experiences, life-stages of years gone by. But I know that being present in the here and now is the gift and challenge I’m am called to embrace. A year ago, I would have only had a faint inkling that this would be my reality….
I mean, I KNEW I was pregnant and having a baby and all….but didn’t have those dear hands and feet to kiss and squeeze. Didn’t know his name. Hadn’t yet beheld his effervescence. Didn’t know he’d be born on October 11th.
So for my 37th year, I’m going try and be more in the moment than I’ve managed over the last 36. I’ve still got a clipboard and fun notebook attached to my person most of the time. That’s just inevitable. But, the goal is to look around a bit more. To savor. To invest deeper. To listen. To breathe and relax when possible. To laugh (rather than cry!) at the absurdities that surround me. No matter where life takes us as a family, the transitions we still have in front of us that I can’t even fathom, I want to enjoy it with these companions. Even though school and “growing up” will take our boys away from the home front sooner than I realize, I hope that they will always feel a place of welcome and love with Matt and I. That they will want to celebrate life’s moments, big and small, with us, knowing that we are as joyful as they are.
I know I use quotes from Shauna Niequist’s books all the time. But I just can’t help myself. She’s just so good. Read this last night and want to share it…
“Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is.
You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural.
You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.”