One of my favorite birthday gifts ever was a flashing green shamrock Budweiser necklace that a dear old friend gave me when I worked at The Chapel. She was sort of a church curmudgeon, but I got to know and love Virginia in a way that not many people did...the more we talked, the more her defenses went down, and I was able to uncover some of the brokenness under all that crankiness. She made twice weekly visits to me a the front desk, and when she entered into the long goodbye of dementia, I missed her terribly.
The day she gave me that necklace, I wore it proudly on my birthday...flashing the Budweiser logo all through the day. Maybe it came as a shock to some, but it represented a greater gift than Virgina probably realized. She meant a lot to me, and when she passed on a few weeks ago, I was saddened by the loss of such an intimate relationship. Virginia was vulnerable with me.
So, today, on my birthday, I can tell you it feels nice to know I'm loved, and have been loved. I feels good to know that today is a good day, no matter what tomorrow brings, and today is infinitely better than any other day that has come before this...because I get to continue to grow up and grow wiser. I have many things to be thankful for, and while there have been times in my life I wondered why I was even alive, I can tell you with confidence that life is good, even when it's bad, and many blessings can come from even the most difficult times.
I told my Mom today that I really think the celebration should be hers! She carried me and gave birth! We had lots of laughs over the fact that I was "the mistake" and she loves me anyway!
Even though, once again, I longed for my Dad's phone call again this year...his was always the first birthday call in the morning, but I loved my sister's sweet reminder today of not being so quick, even at 52, to grow up....that I'm still Dad's little girl in many ways.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, and a double blessing if it happens to be your birthday, too.