We’re going to try something new for my birthday- we’re going to try and move this day from the realm of CRAPTASTIC (um, filing for divorce on your birthday, anyone? don’t recommend it) and gently nudge it back towards where a birthday, at least for most folks, might be- near, perhaps, say, HAPPY?

So far, so good. It’s not that all my birthdays have been crummy- it’s just been a long string where I just sort of got through the day, where I didn’t want to make a big deal, and where I didn’t want my kids to feel bad because we couldn’t do anything, or, well… you get the picture. Last year on this day, this is what I wrote:

Figure I may as well mark the milestone. Today is my birthday. This is what I look like today, at the end of my 39th trip around the sun- but it is not who I am. The tiny lines and freckles on my face mark my earthly journey, and they don’t bother me much. It’s what’s inside that makes me proud, that makes me stand taller and hold myself in esteem. And I realize now, as I stare down the nose of forty, that I like who I am becoming as a mother, a woman, a human being, and a daughter of God. I must have needed some serious refining, because the paths I have chosen and been given are not the easy, simple ways- but I would not be who I am without that hard road. Today I thank God for the broken road, the hard road, the rocky path, and the patience He has in allowing me to hammer myself on the anvil of life and become whatever it is He knows lies within.

Sometimes I’m a pretty smart cookie. At least in retrospect. Yesterday, it was hard to be thankful for the (still) broken road that I’m traveling- but even in my weariness, I know it’s mine, and there are lessons I must learn from this path.

So this morning, I woke to flowers and birthday cards, and happy, boisterous arms around my neck. I woke to my son trying to cook me breakfast, and another coloring me a picture, and Abby with her finger in the frosting. I woke to notes from people who love me, and phone calls from even more of those precious and treasured people.

Things are never going to be perfect, and honestly, I don’t think I wanted a perfect life- whatever that means. What I have is amazing, the gifts I’ve been given— gifts which allow me to navigate this crazy, broken, wild yet still beautiful mess of a life– are tremendous and valuable. There will not be another day wasted on wishing for something, anything, that has not already been granted.

Like the Persian carpet weavers who include intentional mistakes into their complicated and stunning tapestries, I’m going to start weaving the thorns and crags right into the tapestry of life, and call it Beautiful. The garden is already perfect.

Happy Birthday to me.

(btw- that picture is how you do blue eye makeup and not look like a Bozo)

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