This week’s Remember the Time blog hop theme is birthdays. It’s pretty sad that I’ve reached an age in which I can look back on turning 30 with nostalgia, but alas, I can!
My family was never big on celebrating birthdays in a big, over-the-top way. I can remember a few birthday parties over the years and have some quasi-memories based on photos of me blowing out candles on birthday cakes. I remember a bit of a shindig for my 8th (?) birthday that my mom threw in our “Arizona room.” And the ice-skating party for my 14th birthday was pretty awesome in my book–I got to invite friends from elementary school, whom I had moved away from. But the years in between are very hazy.
The year I turned 20 I was in California on a spring break trip with my university’s Baptist Student Union. We ate at Ed Debevic’s and the righteously rude wait staff made me wear a hat as they and our huge table sang to me. Not only was I an introvert back then, I was SHY. I remember my cheeks burning with embarrassment.
For my 21st birthday I was home for spring break in Arizona. Before leaving, my college roomie “decorated” my side of the room with toilet paper in celebration. Once in Arizona, my aunt took me to a George Strait music festival, which would have been the perfect opportunity to partake in some alcohol given my new legal status. But I was (and mostly still am) a teetotaler and don’t remember having a sip of booze that day, despite their likely protests. Later my friends took me mini-golfing and made me wear a funny balloon hat. When I got back to my mom’s apartment, she had Tres Leches cake waiting for me. She always knew how to make things special in her own, simple way.
I remember my 30th birthday as being very special. For the first time in my adult life, I had decided to throw a party for myself. I was no longer shy. I invited friends to come, first to roller skate, then out to dinner at my favorite local Mexican restaurant. A handful of people showed up for the roller skating and it was a blast. Why had I ever stopped roller skating? (Perhaps the better question today is: Why did I not continue roller skating after my birthday party?) So. Much. Fun. And a nice workout, too.
When I finally made it to the restaurant for dinner I was blown away. Our party filled up an entire room and there were at least 20 good friends there, when I had expected maybe 8 or 9. Several friends drove from hours away, there were co-workers, church friends, even some new friends I had only recently met. I felt so special. And loved. To this day I’m not sure if most of those friends know how much that meant to me. It definitely softened the blow of hitting my 30s–still single and childless and struggling to make ends meet in my low-paying career. None of that mattered because I was SO BLESSED! I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
Now that I’m married, I try to be more deliberate about these milestone celebrations. And if we’re blessed someday with children, I hope they feel the same kind of love in our efforts that I felt from my mom’s simple expressions of celebration.
View this month’s other entries here.