Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's My Party and I'll Be Grateful If I Want To...

My daughter posted this picture of me, on Facebook and asked, "Are you still this excited on your birthdays?"
54 years later my answer is "No, I am not that excited about my birthday." Truthfully, for many, many years my birthday was a really hard day and I never looked forward to it. 'Dread' would be the more descriptive word for it, and often by the end of the day on November 21 I was in tears.
I was born on November 21, 1955 to Ray and Ruby Miller. An afterthought...many would joke. Mom was 40 years old and Dad was 45. My nearest sibling, Linda was 14; and my 3 older brothers had already grown and moved away. Two of them had already started their own families.
My one year old picture shows a child that is full of joy about her birthday, but this didn't last long for me. You see, it started with a story; sort of a script if you will, that my mother recited often to people concerning me. I'm sure she meant no harm. It's just that it's a little awkward having a baby at 40; and I suppose their were some terrible people who may have even suspected that I was really my 14 year old sister's child. (Not that she deserved this judgement at all; with my sympathies to Sarah Palin's family for their similar situation.) Anyhow, when asked about her 'late in life' baby, this is what Mom always said...
"I was so surprised to find out I was expecting when I was 40 years old. It was a real shocker to me. I didn't want to be pregnant. After all, my youngest child was alread 14 years old. I cried and cried when I found out. I cried for months. But then after we had Debbie, it turned out to be really fun. We're glad we had her."
I heard this story year in and year out. For me, the end of the story never justified the beginning. I heard from others that I was a surprise, just an afterthought. And at some point I started believing this. That's when birthdays became dreadful to me. Long after my mother stopped reciting the 'didn't want this baby' story; it played over and over in my brain; and especially on my birthday. And if this weren't enough, it happens that one of my brothers' have a birthday exactly one week after mine. And for some reason, after I was grown, Mom would forget my birthday until my brother Allen's, arrived on the 28th. Then she would remember mine and give me a call; asking me over to dinner on Allen's birthday to celebrate them both. This just reinforced the afterthoughtedness of my existence in my mind. Every year became a sick game for me where I anticipated that I would be forgotten on my birthday. And every year, Mom forgot. My poor husband and family could do nothing to help me. Try as they would to make a special day for me; it always ended painfully and with tears. And with no phone call and no acknowledgement from my mother. If they called her to remind her, I felt hurt that she had to be reminded. And the more that other people remembered, the more painful it felt to me that my own mom forgot when even casual friends could remember. It was all I could focus on. And yes, if you are wondering, I did confront her one time about it. When I told her how hurt I was, she agreed that 'that must feel terrible.' But she was very old and continued to forget.
At this point, you need to understand that my mom did love me. She was, for some reason, unable to express her emotions very well and seemed distant. But she often did wonderful, kind things for me. But they never happened on my birthday. And nothing, absolutely nothing could make me have a Happy Birthday.
Mom passed away several years ago. I no longer play the 'will she call, won't she call' game on my birthday. And that script that used to play in my head; that erroneous old story has become like a faint voice, calling from a long distant past.
Time and faith and family has replaced the old story with a new one. I have learned some wonderful things about myself over the past several years.

*I am not an afterthought. The Bible says that I have been wonderfully and carefully made. And that God knew me from the beginning of the world. Before He created the earth and all of it's glory, He had a picture of me in his mind. The date of my birth, the era and generation were chosen specifically by God. I was born for such a time as this.

*God has a plan for me; and it is wonderfully. In Jeremiah it says that He knows the plans he has for me, plans to do me good and not evil, to bless me and give me an expected end. I like that!

I have seen some of these good plans unfold before my very eyes. Like carefully and beautifully wrapped gifts from my Father.

Health A Wonderful Family A Fulfilling Career A Husband Who Loves Me
Financial Security Friends
The Goodness and Grace of God
Talents and Gifts that are Uniquely Mine Joy Laughter Ever - Increasing Wisdom

And so now, the week or so before my birthday, I am not excited. I am grateful. As I drive through the countryside to work every day; past the golden, autumnal cornfields filled with hundreds of feeding snowy geese or graceful trumpter swans; when I look into my students eyes and see that instantaneous moment that they caught on to what I said and learned something forever; when I watch my beautiful grandchildren running on the beach and digging for clams -the very same beach that I ran and played on- and I hear their squeals of delight as they find treasure buried in the sand; when I hear "Hi Mom!", on the other end of the phone line; while sipping tea at the Dutch Mother's with my sister and giggling about some crazy thing; as my husband and I stroll through a golden path of autumn leaves, hands held and quietly discussing our lives together; when I watch my new pup leap for joy in the snow, trying to catch snowflakes in her mouth; and when I kneel before my Heavenly Father---I feel gratitude. Overwhelming gratitude.

I am so glad to be here with you all! Grateful for 55 years of life- good life. And looking forward to many, many more.

After all, "It's my party and I'll be grateful if I want to...grateful if I want to...grateful if I want to... it's my party and I'll be grateful if I want to...You would be grateful to...if it happened to you!!

1 comment:

Scrabblequeen said...

What a story. I understand some of it in a very personal way....glad you have written a new birthday story for yourself. Hope your birthday was wonderful this year!


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