May 4, 2009

Birthday Presence

Yesterday was my birthday. In general I’m not a big birthday person, but this year I wanted to skip it all together. I didn’t mind turning forty a few years ago. Actually it was fun and I didn’t know why folks fuss so much about getting older—until the next year when I turned 41, and then 42. I hadn’t counted on time continuing to march on. Now I want to shout, "Father Time, if you wouldn’t mind, can you pause the hands of time for me? I’m good.”

I almost forgot my birthday was even coming up. I dropped no hints or “casual” reminders. Maybe everyone will be so busy with their own things they’ll forget. And if I don’t mark the day, does it even count?

But, I know I’d be sad if no one remembered—because whether we admit it or not, don’t we all want at least a little recognition?

Well, it turned out my family didn’t forget and in fact, they planned a wonderfully thoughtful day from beginning to end. A low-key, but perfect birthday spent in the embrace of my family. Starting with church (what better way to celebrate, especially since I helped serve communion) and ending with dinner at my parents (including the most delicious birthday cake ever). In between was a homemade breakfast, cards, flowers from a friend, a few calls, a trip to Target and the present I’d been hoping for—a brand new, lime green iPod nano (perfectly matching my lime green car!).

I take for granted the amazing blessing I have in my family, my children and my husband who offer unconditional love and a safe haven from a world I often find confusing and unwelcoming. Being able to pause and savor each little act of love they gave me yesterday fills my heart to overflowing. Their simple gestures are priceless treasures.

Whether or not I admit to getting older, there’s no hiding the fact my children are. At 14 and 11, my little ones are no longer little. I delight in who they’re becoming, but mourn the passing of time that will soon take them away from me and into their own lives.

Last night as we sat around the dinner table at my parents’ house and said grace, in each hand I held one of my children’s. Where had the time gone? Gone were the little hands that grasped mine to cross the street, that reached up for me to scoop them in my arms, that diligently worked to dress a doll or build a tower of blocks, that scribbled their name with big fat crayons.

On my right I held my daughter’s soft, slender hand whose long fingers play the violin and baked and decorated my birthday cake. That write poetry, text with lightning speed, work algebraic equations, apply makeup and select outfits with a keen eye for fashion.

On my left, providing a sharp contrast, I held my son’s big, strong hands. Hands that play the drums, catch a football, wrestle, shoot baskets, carry heavy loads, build six-foot tall K-nex roller coasters, write wonderful stories and give the best hugs in the world.

I soaked in the moment, an unexpected present of mothering. And I thanked God for the gifts of this day.

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”

~ Psalm 139:13-14


JerryLyn said...

What a wonderful birthday celebration to celebrate a truly special child of God! I'm so glad your birthday was delightful from beginning to end. And I'm so touched at the way you so deeply treasure your family and the gifts of your children. May this year be filled with God's blessings!

Sassy Granny ... said...

Happy Birthday, friend!

It's been nearly 20 years now since I celebrated #42. The little hands aren't little any more, and now there's more hands ... grandchildren.

It all passes so swiftly. You are one smart Mom to relish the moments.

By the way, the BEST is always yet to come. I hadn't a clue!


Debbie said...

So how old are you? I'm jealous!

What a beautiful day you were blessed with, and such a special family. You're a wonderful wife, mother, and friend.

Love, Deb

Donna said...

Happy Birthday Kelli

sounds like a perfect day! Hey can you resend me your email. My old computer crashed and with it your email.

Birthday blessings,

Chatty Kelly said...

Happy Birthday! Sounds like an amazing day, with some amazing moments. I'm so glad for you.

Happy, Happy Day!

Julie Gillies said...

Belated Happy Birthday to you, Kelli. Your day sounds like the perfect mix of relaxing and special. And I'm sooo glad there was good cake involved. But I do understand the whole reluctance thing about growing older, seeing how I'm even older than you! (Dontcha feel better already?) *wink*

The Rose Tender said...

Dear Kelli,
The path to our peaceful and fulfilled souls is in the hands of God and in our willing spirit.

God alone knows the secret plan of the things he will do for the world using my hands. Toyohiko Kagawa

It is better to get wisdom than gold. It is better to choose understanding than silver. Proverbs 16:16

Give a Kind word to someone each day this week!

The Rose Tender

Runner Mom said...

Oh, sweet friend! You had me in tears as you described your darlin' children. They do grow up too fast, but it is a blessing that we can guide them in the process.

Kelli, Happy, happy birthday!! I'm a May b'day too!! So glad that your day was wonderful! And a green!!! Enjoy your birthday week...extend the celebration!!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you! As we say in our family, I am glad God made you! :)

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, you're so right to cherish the moments you have with your kids while they're still at home. Even after they leave, though, you'll have wonderful times together. I got to spend the day with my girls (and their guys) yesterday, and they still fill my heart to overflowing. The love just goes on and on and on...

So glad you had a happy birthday!

Saleslady371 said...

Special blessings to you, Kelli. What a wonderful celebration of your day with your family. I loved hearing about those beautiful children of yours. You are one gifted lady and I pray that God will continue to anoint you with his choicest blessing as you serve Him in your family, church and community.

Sue J. said...

Birthdays are great times for reflection and humility. Every year, my husband asks me what I want....what do I want to do. For him, a gifts guy, it's important for him to give me something. So, I try to be thoughtful about ideas. For me, I just want to enjoy a nice dinner with my family (as you did!).

Most birthdays, now, I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that God has placed in my life. I don't think about numbers, because I think that's a limiting feature of life. (I played up 45 because it's just a number....a "fiver" but just a number.)

I'm sure there would be a tinge of sadness if you didn't go forward with your birthday. It's an opportunity for others to share in the joy of your being!

Happy Birthday, Kelli!!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I know...I know, friend. Everything you're saying and more! The tenderness of time keeps working on me, and there's rarely a day when my emotions don't weep their tears of understanding.

Happy Birthday. You and I are in the same time frame friend! I think, perhaps, you wear it better than me.


Sarah said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Theresa said...

I love your heart!

It shines through in your family also.

Happy Belated Birthday!