I’m still on “birthday mode” here in the empty nest. I actually celebrated my birthday milestone – turning 60 – for several days through last weekend and into Monday, which was my actual birth date.
What good are birthdays if we don’t celebrate another year of life? When we’re youngsters, our birthdays are big deals. Really big deals with parties and excitement and cake and ice cream and presents. We especially get excited about the gifts part!
But as we get older, birthdays seem like just another day. Another day, another year. Oh well. I’m starting to sound like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh here. But I must admit I considered my birthdays as ho-hum for far too many years.
As I head into a new decade, I’m determined to change my ways, at least when it comes to celebrating. I’ve spent plenty of time looking back, but hey, my life’s not over yet! It’s time to look forward and to rejoice for things to come. To revel and cheer for each day as it arrives.
English poet, Alexander Pope wrote in one of his poems, “Pleas’d to look forward, pleas’d to look behind, And count each birthday with a grateful mind.”
That sentiment exactly expresses my desire. To count each birthday (all 60 of them so far!) with a grateful mind.
So what am I most thankful for concerning this birthday that I’m still commemorating? The birthday presence. No, I didn’t spell that wrong. Not birthday presents, instead birthday presence.
See I’m one of those people whose love language actually encompasses two – words of affirmation and quality time. If you haven’t figured out your language yet, you can take the ‘test’ developed by Dr. Gary Chapman by clicking here.
Nothing makes me feel more loved and appreciated than affirming words and spending time together with the ones I love. Telling me why you care for me blesses me more than a basket full of gifts. That’s probably why those kind and positive comments I receive on this blog mean so much to me.
But you know what else really floats my love boat? Your presence. Real life time together sharing conversations and activities. Giving me your undivided attention makes me feel oh, so special.
Which is why my love boat not only floated, it cruised along down the river of contentment for this birthday. In more ways than one.
Oldest daughter and son-in-law made the 7 hour (one-way) drive to spend my birthday weekend here and brought along their new kitten for us to meet and play with. Middle daughter came too (son-in-law had to work) and brought a yummy cake from one of our tastiest bakeries. Son and daughter-in-law could not make the long trip due also to work commitments but sent me a gorgeous, colorful bouquet of flowers, and son and I had a long phone conversation, just the two of us, while daughter-in-law sent a sweet text message to me from her business trip out west.
But it wasn’t the cake or the flowers that filled up my love tank, although I loved them and the sweet thoughts behind them. Instead, the words expressed in writing and in person made me feel cherished. And the time we spent together doing something fun as a family (that quality time!) really ramped it up several notches.
And it REALLY floated my boat! I mean literally! Saturday afternoon, Papa took us all for a treat. We drove into our nearby city, Pittsburgh, where we rode the famous incline to the top of Mt. Washington where you can see one of the most beautiful views of our city. We stopped for an ice cream break together just enjoying the sunshine and good company.
Back down the incline we rode to Station Square where we took an excursion I’ve always wanted to experience. We rode the Ducks! We went on Just Ducky Tours, a tour of the city on land and in the water of one of our three rivers. If you’re not familiar with duck boats, they are actually converted World War II military vehicles called DUKWs. The boats with tires were used in amphibious operations during the war and most notably on D-Day in 1944.
So you see, my love boat really did cruise down the river – down the Ohio River. I loved it! It was fun, it was relaxing, and it was a true blessing to experience it all with part of my family. What a great way to celebrate life. Oh yes, my heart overflows with gratefulness and love and this birthday was like a fountain of joy.
“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” ~ Voltaire