I have never been a birthday person. Although, I look back at pictures and I’m quite sure as a child I absolutely loved them. There are Kodak moments of happy faces and parties with big cakes, balloons, and smiling friends in attendance. When I was ten, I had a slumber party with 9 other little girls (10 total…oh the themes even back then!!). We proceeded to systematically destroy the house. Best birthday ever!!! My mother was appalled with my sweet individually calm little friends and from that time on, I only went to other people’s slumber parties and I celebrated my own special day in other ways. : /
Somewhere along the way, my birthday really hit home for me that I was closing another chapter. When I turned 21, my mother wrote me this amazing poem and read it at the dinner table. I couldn’t believe that I was actually an adult. It was mind boggling and I felt SO sad to say goodbye to childhood, even though a new and exciting chapter was beginning. I sobbed like a baby. At that point, I realized that birthdays made me think about time in ways that actually scared me….getting older. And on the sad occasion of my fortieth birthday, I even boycotted a surprise party given in my honor by my kids and husband. I just couldn’t bear the thoughts of all those over the hill jokes and cards. Yes, that was a low ebb in birthday moments and I spent lots of time writing apology notes and feeling guilty. I still do….feel guilty…about that one. I am not proud!
If you know me at all, you realize that the way to send me into spasms of ugly cry face tears is to show me a movie of progression of age. Ex. Somewhere in Time, Same Time Next Year…Oh my goodness, I am positively holding back the gut wrenching sobs just thinking about them. I now boycott those too. I think I have actually been this way my whole life. It might take a whole team of psychiatrists to analyze this one.
But now, I’ve changed my thoughts about getting older. Actually it was TREES that helped me do that. God reveals Himself to us in such beautiful ways! You know how I do love trees! While out on my walks, I notice all of the trees. I have even been known to stop my car on a busy street to look at one. I discovered that the trees I love the best are the biggest and the oldest ones. They have the most character. They have been lightning struck and their trunks look a little gnarly, but oh so interesting!!! They give the best shade in summer and provide the most brilliant colors in autumn, and in winter, their silhouettes are so breathtakingly lovely. They couldn’t do that in their youth as little seedlings. Maybe, just maybe, people are that way too. Time gives us interesting details, time enables us to be able to provide shade to others in ways we couldn’t as a young’un, and time makes us more beautiful in ways that youth just can’t. So maybe that is my Tree Star revelation for today…birthdays give us MORE instead of less life. I will celebrate and embrace this one.
Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. ~Ausonius