This past Sunday I was standing at my kitchen counter washing dishes. Dishes actually aren’t a chore I particularly mind doing. I get to stand at my sink, which has a two large windows above it, and stare out at my panoramic view. There are worse things in the world.
The windows in my home happen to have wider than average windowsills, and atop many of them sit picture frames. A LOT of picture frames. Interior designers would cringe at my home – such as it is with photos perched, placed and hung in every direction.
Yesterday I took particular note of the ones above my sink.
Two of them are from “Birthday-Eve” celebrations. And if you looked around my house you would find three more framed from different birthday years.
Each photograph is taken in a different location – a Vineyard, my favourite Mediterranean Restaurant, my Living Room, Blueberry Acres … etc etc.
And each one has something in common – I’m surrounded by girlfriends. Sometimes almost a dozen and sometimes as few as four.
To look at them you would think “What incredible friends she has – planning parties for her every year in different locations, doing different activities – wow – she is so lucky!”
And ofcourse you’d be right. About the incredible girlfriend part. Because I do and I am. Women friendships are among the most important things in my life, and I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by the many different groups of women I get to call friends.
But you would be wrong about one thing. You would be wrong that any of these soirées or outings or birthday celebrations of my own were planned by anyone other than little old un-modest me.
Looking around at all of these “Karrie-Ann Birthday Eve Photos” I have to say – I planned them all.
I decided what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be with.
I sent the invitations, planned the food (and asked people to bring it), made people take photos, and generally asked them to come and celebrate me, myself and I.
Can you believe that???
The lack of humility and grace!
Well …. maybe.
But here’s what I really think. What I really believe.
I deserve to be celebrated on the day I was born.
Yes. I said it.
And I deserve that day to be more than some “acronym-wish” posted on Social Media site because someone received a notification on their phone.
I deserve a little “hoop” and a little “la”.
Because you know what? If I don’t celebrate me … who will?
All of my girlfriends are amazing, generous, thoughtful women. But they are busy. They are raising children and managing careers and marriages and their own interests and pursuits. Just as I am.
We talk ad nauseum about time moving too fast and the importance of simplicity and spending time with those who matter.
Well what better time for that than my birthday?
Why NOT celebrate that? Why NOT celebrate me?
Why wait for someone else to do it?
I remember once we were camping and one of our friends daughters was celebrating her birthday while we were there.
I remember waking up that morning and going over to give her a giant hug and wish her a Happy Birthday. She was a little coy – not shy per se, but a little unsure about the fuss I was making.
I picked her up and stood her on top of the picnic table. I said to her this was HER day and she should shout from the rooftop (or the top of the picnic table as it were) that it was her Birthday and let the world know she was a force to be reckoned with.
So she stood there, spread her arms wide apart and hollered at the top of her lungs “It’s my birthday”!! And continued to laugh and giggle until she doubled over.
It was a joyful, uninhibited, innocent and beautiful moment.
But as grown women we don’t jump on picnic tables. It’s not particularly socially acceptable I guess and maybe there’s just no time. Our lives are centred around everyone else. Centred around children or spouses or colleagues or parents.
Too often we are trudging through to-do lists and trying just to keep it all together.
So when I sit there on my Birthday Eve, surrounded by my girlfriends, for three or four hours – once a year – celebrating the day I was born into this world – I am not thinking how pathetic it was to organize this myself – or how socially unacceptable it was to do so.
Instead I’m always thinking how incredibly blessed I was to be born into this world “x” number of years ago. How lucky I am to share the day with people who mean so much to me. To be able to raise a glass with them and silently whisper thank you for this past year.
And quite frankly I deserve nothing less than that.
And so do you and you and you.
So stand on the picnic table, shout from the rooftop.
Celebrate YOU. Take the time. Make the time. You deserve it.
You can bet on August 29th I’ll be “celebrating me” 😉.