In years past, I've kind of dreaded my birthday. Not because I hate the thought of getting older but because it's a forced happy day and those seem so forced. Family and friends ask, "How are you celebrating?" Well, the birthday mom does the mom thing all day and sometimes that includes baking her own cake.
The last few years, however, have been different. I've had lovely birthdays and not because they've changed but because I have. Four years ago at this time, I went to a friend's funeral. She was smart, kind, funny, deeply spiritual and deeply missed. Last year, Rhonda got breast cancer and went through more surgeries than seem possible. Another friend's husband has a brain tumor. My cousin just buried his wife. One of my husband's former students is stationed in Afghanistan. There are so many people I know who are struggling that when I close my eyes I don't know who to pray for first.
I am very aware of how fast things can change and how fragile normal is. I'm happy, healthy and here to celebrate. Lucky, lucky me.