I looked at the faces surrounding me. They sang “Happy Birthday,” and I laughed when they added theatrics and operatic ornaments. “Make a wish!” they said.
I held my own hair back and thought: What should I wish for?
~ ~ ~
Last year, when I turned 23, I begged my mother not to do anything. “Just dinner with the family,” I said. “We can go to my favorite restaurant, but I don’t want a party.”
I think she was a little relieved, because she stresses out whenever we have a party.
So we went to my favorite place – a dark, cozy, old restaurant that serves lamb and red wine – and I thought that was exactly what I wanted. Here were my parents, my siblings, and delicious food.
But when I got home, when I sat in my room reading, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. I’d chosen smallness, because there wasn’t enough of me to celebrate how I wanted to celebrate. I needed quiet, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I was grateful for my yummy rack of lamb, but there was something missing.
~ ~ ~
[“You have to do something, Cath. Have a party. Invite everyone. Do what you want. We’ll help you, both of us, and we will have a blast.”]
~ ~ ~
So this year, that’s what I did. I had a party. I surrounded myself with people I adore. There were moments when someone new would walk in the door, and I felt almost like crying. Wait, you are in my life! You are amazing! I can’t believe how good God has been.
[When he gave me the little package of paperbacks – all copies of “Decision Making by the Book” – I threw my arms around him shamelessly. It’s good when friends read your blog and buy you books to give to your friends. “Hopefully you won’t find the new cover quite as ugly as the old one!” he said, laughing. I gave every last copy away that night, and the six more coming in a few weeks will be dispersed just as quickly.]
One of my friends said to another: “This party’s interesting: it’s classy, I mean, there’s brie, but then there’s dancing.”
That’s pretty much perfect.
(This picture is all of us laughing when B cried excitedly: “And an unlit candle to grow on!” “Isn’t it an extra LIT candle to grow on?” I said. I guess every family’s different… :))
That’s the difference, I think, between my 23-year-old self and my new 24-year-old self: I’m tired of not celebrating. I’m tired of not letting people know how much I love them. So what if it surprises them? So what if it might seem like too much? Love is too much, really, when you think about it. It’s crazy how big love can be. This year is going to be about freedom, and that freedom is showing people who I really am, what I really think, and how I really feel.
Even if it’s sometimes too much to handle.
So that’s my goal (or my wish, I guess you could say): love bigger and show it better.
Thanks for a great birthday.
Artsy-blur affect. Blowing out 24 candles: the best way to use that college-educated diaphragm.
P.S. I’m a little less broke than I was last year!!! Hurrah for moving up in the world!!!