My mom, swamped with taking care of four other children had promised that I could have a birthday party, as long as I planned it myself. I fretted the entire summer over details, watching old reruns of Martha Stewart hoping to gain some helpful tips for the perfect party (I was a strange child).
I decided on a Hawaiian Hello Kitty theme. Hello Kitty hadn’t reached its glory quite yet, but I was obsessed with it from visits to the international district with my grandma up in Seattle. I settled on Hawaiian because my birthday is in August and it felt like a nice fit. We would go swimming at a local pool, have pineapple upside down cake, and have hula skirts as party favors. I selected streamers and planned out the rest of the food. I was so excited.
The thing about having your birthday at the end of August, is that you never know what the weather will look like. It could still be 100 degrees or blustery and windy, preparing for colder Fall weather.
The part would be held on my birthday and I prepped all morning, helping my mom to make the cake and decorating the backyard with pink streamers and hanging pineapples. The wind rolled in gray clouds and I was a little worried. Then only five of the people I had invited showed up. My heart sunk a little, in my mind there were thousands of my adoring friends flocking to celebrate me (Oh the mind of a ten year-old!). We pressed on with the party. The pool was deserted with the forecast of rain and so we enjoyed the slide on a continuous loop of no lines with rain sprinkling down. It was awesome.
We arrived back to my house and plopped in my new B*Witched cd and danced in the front yard to, “Don’t Blame it on the Weatherman.” We made a sign for all the cars that passed to honk because it was my birthday. We ate delicious cake and ran around in our hula skirts and all I remember was it ended up being so much more fun than I had expected. It ended up being more fun because it had rained.
I turned 27 on Sunday and I realized a couple of weeks before that I was holding expectations for this birthday. Turning 25 happened in the wake of James death, there was no celebrating. I was miserable and depressed. Turning 26, I was 38 weeks pregnant and the day before my birthday was stuck in the hospital because they wanted to induce. My fluid levels were low and I was wracked with anxiety and just wanted Daniel out and safe. He could have been a birthday baby, but the fluid issues resolved themselves (rather the person reading my fluid levels had mistook them for being low and they were normal the whole time) and I spent my birthday upset and anxious and disappointed. There was a lot going on and it was hard to enjoy anything.
So this past weekend I had expectations, and for a second I thought that they might be crazy or high or whatever and then I realized they were normal.
I wanted a birthday without anxiety, depression, worry, or sadness. I just wanted a happy birthday. I wanted to be surrounded by those I love and take in how grateful I am, despite the rain that has fallen in the past couple of years.
My 27th birthday was a happy one. It was a birthday that offered perspective to see that all my birthday wishes have come true.
To me, there is no better gift than that.