Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When a Family Shows Love

My children were excited at the thought of another birthday.  At their age, the day of their birth holds great significance, is cause for anticipation weeks and months in advance leading up to the big day with all its great pomp and circumstance.  As Emerson says of days such as this, "Today is a good day."

But this was my birthday.  Mommy's.  The one who typically bakes the cakes, buys the presents, sends the invitations, and arranges all the festivities.  Such extravagance for a thirty-six-year-old seems almost silly, not to mention labor intensive without the payout of being able to revel in the limitless happiness found only in children.

Besides, my birthday was falling just two days after I lost another part-time job to the economy.  By Thursday morning, I was at peace with God's choice even if I didn't understand it or know what long-term effects it would have on our family, but throughout the day, there was still a fragile numbness that could lead to crumbling.

The children were aghast.  No cake? No candles? No presents?

"Aren't you at least going to have cupcakes," Wyatt asked.  His tone was clear--the bare minimum any birthday should have is cupcakes. 

I smiled thin.  No cupcakes.

My arm wrapped around husband's waist, and I willed my voice to lilt with happiness, smiled deep.  "Daddy is taking off work for my birthday.  That's his present to me.  It's what I asked for."

The boys looked at me like I'd just asked for toilet paper for my birthday, but Amelia smiled that proud smile I see when she understands and approves.

It was what I had asked for--extra time with the one I promised to love forever.

Husband joined me on our weekly morning prayer walk through the neighborhoods.  He played games with me and the twins as well as completed a honey-do project that had been on the list since we moved into the house over two years ago

At lunch, my parents popped in with a box of chicken and half gallon of Blue Bunny, a sharing 'round the kitchen table that the twins instantly dubbed "my party."

Later, as I went to teach ESL to a small group of four refugees, my friend passed me a gift card to a local restaurant, a gift from someone anonymous in my church.

It was all I could do to hold it all together, to not just sit in her living room and cry at God's gracious mercy and love expressed first through my husband, then through my parents, and now through my extended church family.  This last love was almost too much--love from someone who neither was predisposed to love me from birth nor had promised to love me in front of God and a sea of witnesses.

My thirty-sixth birthday may not have had streamers, a large gathering, or even a cake.  But I can't remember another when I have felt God's love expressed to me through the people in my life.

Image: Pooh in his honey pot, cupcakes from our Autumn Harvest Festival last year.


  1. What a beautiful birthday celebration. Who could ask for anything more?!

  2. SO beautiful!!! I thought of you. And I prayed. I specifically prayed for your feet. ;) Sweet relief, from your feet all the way up.