Yes, it's true...I'm 41 today. Now normally, I don't go around making grand birthday announcements and wishing myself a great day. But I have to share a couple of things that have happened recently that have made me appreciate the value of recognizing milestones in our lives.
March is our big birthday month around here -- we're all in March (except for my husband) -- and in our kitchen is a big white board on which we keep the family calendar. Yesterday was the first of the month, so as I filled in the calendar, I made a special note on each kid's birthday with a big announcement of the age they're turning. I left the date of my own birthday blank.
When my daughter walked by, she glanced at the calendar and said, "Yay, I'm turning 13!" But then she looked again and said, "Aren't you proud of turning 41, Mom?"
Hmmm...how to answer that one?
"Of course," I told her, quickly writing in "Mom is 41!!" on today's block. See, I realized that with that simple scrawl on the calendar's block -- or by leaving it blank -- I'm sending my kids a message about aging. Growing up, I can remember my mother telling me wistfully about something she'd always wanted to do. "So why don't you do it?" I asked her. "No," she replied. "It's too late."
She was younger than I am now.
The older I get, the more I realize that every year of life is something to be celebrated. And good health is something never to be taken for granted; that point was driven home to me this week when an acquaintance disclosed that she's undergoing a double mastectomy tomorrow after being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She's 38 years old.
I'm grateful to my daughter -- and to all the other people in my life -- who remind me to celebrate what is, right now in this moment, without worrying about the past or what will happen tomorrow.
Happy birthday to me, indeed.