Friday, June 15, 2012

Day o' the Birth

Yup, it's the day I was born.  In 1978, I entered this world via section just in time for lunch.

There's a certain awkwardness about celebrating one's birthday.  Seems a bit egocentric to go too far with it.  There are few things more awkward than sitting while the room sings that song that is copyrighted so much I'm half afraid to mention it here.  I never know what to do!  And what do you want for your birthday?  Um... uh... I actually had to ask my husband what I wanted.  "Have I mentioned anything I wanted for my birthday, dear?"

One of my favorite things to do for my birthday is just be with family.  The whole weekend last weekend and a day or two on either side, coupled with this weekend, I got my favorite gift.  Last weekend, one half of our family; this weekend, the other (save my sis in law's family... do wish they were here)!  Today has been great.  Breakfast and lunch and the promise of dinner with people I adore, shopping with Mom S with no kids (I love 'em, but y'know), and a trip to the park with the best gifts ever.

First, swinging with Ryan.  Yelling, "look, daddy!" when we were swinging on the same plane (me, of course), then hopping off to watch.  His face is so joyful, so happy, so peaceful when he swings.  It's as if he's surveying the land, flying over the green so confidently.  There is no anxiety, no yelling, no hitting... just the delicious freedom of whizzing through the air, then back again.

Then Maelynn.  "Follow me, mommy!" she beckons, and we run up the hill and back down again.  Once my body couldn't do that again, I did one of my favorite things to do.  I laid back with her laying with me, and we looked at the clouds.  There was one that I decided was a caterpillar, and one that we dubbed a wiener doggie.  Then she saw a butterfly that I hadn't noticed!

And Richie.  My sweet, sweaty, curly-golden locked boy took my hand and asked "will you push me?" as he dragged me toward the red swing-seat at the park.  I've never seen one like it.  Just kind of a chair on chains, right by the baby swing.  He climbed into the swing, and as I began to push, he said "This is one of my favorite things.  It doesn't have a seatbelt, though."

How true.

I glanced over to the baby swing, the standard-playground-issue, black bowlish thing with holes in the front and back, the same one all my kids have used when we visit.  The park is just down the street from Grammy and Grampy, so it's very handy, and therefore frequented.  The baby swing is safer.  But the chains are shorter, and you don't go as far.  Or as high.  You must be lifted in and out of the swing.  But it's safer.  There are limits, but it's safer.

I couldn't help but look back on the 34 short years I've lived, and notice that most of the fun stuff... the best stuff... came with a bit of a calculated risk.  My favorite stuff... sharing laughter and our hearts and things over a meal, a cup of coffee... doesn't even come without a risk.  If I hadn't taken the plunge and agreed to go out with this guy from work who I barely knew, I wouldn't have the immense pleasure and blessing of loving him and his family.  If I hadn't left the job I adored in a town full of people who were just terrific, I wouldn't have met him (and several other great people).  If I look back on everything, things that looked kinda iffy as far as the safety and surety factor goes, I see that I made some pretty crazy decisions by conventional wisdom.

School seven and a half hours away from home when you don't know anyone to speak of in that state, much less the city?

Who agrees to marry someone they've dated for a week and a half?  And who they work with?

So many things are risky from so many angles.  No real guarantees.  Even things with seat belts can kill you!  As I pushed Richie, the child we had after an insanely scary miscarriage, I began to consider how many things I love that looked as if they were ranging from a little risky to crazy.

It was all God's great providence.  His hand guided me, and it still does.  And the only guarantee there is in life is that it always will.

Thanks be to you, Lord, for the amazingness of of the first 34, and for holding the next however many in your capable, willing, loving, strong hands.

Need a little more proof?  Here's that couple who decided to get married after dating a week and a half... about nine years and nine months or so later.

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