I had a birthday last week. I am not yet 40 but it won’t be long, kids. And I have most definitely glimpsed some gray hairs on my head. But I am mostly ok with that. Mostly.
The truth is that I LOVE birthdays. Maybe it’s because my mom was great at making birthdays special when my sisters and I were growing up. We didn’t have much money, especially when I was little. But mom would spend hours making these amazing decorated cakes in the shapes of bunnies and raggedy ann dolls and roller skates. She would make beautiful handmade gifts and do what it took to made the day special. It made me feel loved. It felt good to have a day that was set apart to celebrate each of our lives. I think birthdays are important that way. Actually, it is my firmly held belief that everyone should set aside time to celebrate his or her birthday as if life were a gift because, of course, it is. (This means you, Kyle.)
This birthday I was looking forward to more than most. I would eat white cake with white icing, go to brunch with some new friends, have a fun and quiet day with Kyle and Torey, eat sushi for dinner followed by my special Italian cream cheesecake made by my dad, answer text and facebook messages from friends. What could be better?
It has been a crazy and tough couple of years with lost jobs, death threats, and dreams on hold (some perhaps permanently). And while the season is finally finally beginning to change and there is much to celebrate and be joyful about, I knew I could use a few extra reminders that a few of the people who really know me still like me. And I have to say that this year I got some of the best I have ever received. Gifts like jewelry picked out with me in mind. Handmade flowers to wear in my hair. Candles and scented oils to make our home cozy and sweet-smelling. A Barnes t-shirt that came with love all the way from Bangkok. Bling Barnes (a Limoges box in the shape of a black and white Frenchie encrusted with rhinestones and gold: classic).
But my favorites were the words. Kyle wrote me a letter telling me how much he loves me and is proud of me. That there is hope. My sweet Torey had a journal engraved with the words, “I love you, Mom.” And two incredible friends (and their families) each wrote a list of eleven things they love about me. Eleven instead of ten because of the truly dorky joke I just couldn’t resist from my last post. That’s just the kind of friends they are. And these lists were things from over the years they’ve known me. Fun things like, “I love Terra because she has a love for Austin, good food, wine, and coffee.” Sweet things like, “I trust her. She makes me feel happy.” (I couldn’t be more honored, Macayla. And you make me feel happy, too.) Humbling things like, “The first time I met Terra…there was a depth that I hadn’t had with other women who taught me. I came home with excitement…” It might come across as a tad narcissistic to frame these and hang them on my wall so I’ll refrain. But these are some of the most precious and timely gifts I have ever received. Rest assured I will be going back to these lists whenever I need to be reminded of how God sees me in the words of two of His daughters who happen to be some of my most precious friends.