Saturday, March 23, 2019

"Every year is a blessing"..

Yesterday I bought a cake from a woman in the school district who bakes as a side income. Martina and Marla are coming over tonight to help me celebrate my birthday and I wanted a carrot cake to serve. "Aunt Connie" as she calls herself delivered it to the school early in the morning and it was sitting on my desk in a box with a pretty bow for the rest of the day.

One of the guidance counselors walked past about an hour after the cake was dropped off and asked me about it. She said, "What's the occasion?" and I told her that tomorrow was my birthday. She wished me a happy one, and then asked me how old I would be. I kind of smirked and said, "Forty four." I've had some mixed feelings about entering my mid 40's and it plainly showed. The counselor then asked me, "Why are you frowning?" and I felt a little sheepish then and said something to the effect of, "well, you know, time is just moving so fast, and I'm not really young anymore..." and her reply gave me something to think about for the rest of the day. She said, "No, you should be happy. Every year is a blessing..." then she smiled at me, patted my shoulder, and went on about her day.

I thought about that all afternoon. I thought about my friend Michael, who died when we were both 31 years old. What wouldn't his friends and family give for another 13 years with him? One of my girlfriends from high school lost both of her sons to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when they were teenagers. Those boys never got a chance to whine about reaching middle age. Another woman I went to high school with never made it to work one morning, and they found her dead of a brain aneurism on her kitchen floor that afternoon, dressed in her work clothes. She was 42. I could go on, but you get the drift. That one small comment from my coworker really changed my whole perspective.

 When I take stock of my life at this point, I realize how much I've accomplished in my 44 years. I have a husband that I adore and love to pieces. We work hard to make each other happy. I have a home of my own, finally, which was something I spent years hoping for. I have wonderful friends, two of whom will be over tonight to drink wine and eat cake and celebrate with me, and we'll do it all again for them when their birthdays roll back around. Tomorrow another group of my friends (from my larger book club) are going out to eat with me to mark the occasion. I am rich in friendship! I have two sweet dogs that I dote on, and a sassy shit-talking parrot that makes me laugh every single day. I like my job, and my coworkers. I have a good life, and every single year I get to spend enjoying it really is a blessing. Thank you, Mrs. Betty Lawrence, for reminding me of all that!

Now I'm off to enjoy my day....and to be thankful for it! Have a good one, everyone!

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43 years ago's always been all about the cake!


  1. Now THAT is a beautiful birthday post and one that we can all glean some wisdom from. I'm so glad you have a cake and you have such sweet and good friends and a husband you adore. Forty-four is the prime of life for a woman! Enjoy it! And I mean that with all of my heart.

  2. You are blessed. Happy Birthday Jennifer.

  3. Every year is a blessing - that is a wonderful sentiment. Happy birthday Jennifer, enjoy every moment.

  4. What a wonderful present to yourself, to remember what blessed means, and to realize you are blessed. And forty four is nothing. I recommend cartwheels on your own front lawn!

  5. I'll be 65 this year; I could have died 30 years ago from cancer, but I didn't. every day I wake up alive is a great thing. LIVE, JENNIFER, LIVE! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY; may you live to 100!

  6. It is nice to have your cake... and eat it, too. The funniest thing about growing old, at least for me, is that I never, in my wildest dreams, ever thought I'd be this old. Every morning when I look in the mirror I shake in bemusement. The best is yet to come. Happy Birthday!!

  7. You've made me think about all those old friends who were robbed of life far too early. We should all be grateful.

  8. Wishing you a wonderfully happy birthday, Jennifer. Yes, you received great advice but, sadly, it's not always easy to remember.

  9. Hope you had a great birthday! Your colleague's comment is definitely food for thought. I knew a guy who died while we were both in high school, and I've often thought about him across the years -- the longer I live, the more I realize what he missed.

  10. This really resonates with me (I'm 45 btw). And recently this song has been stopping me in my tracks.

    1. One Less Day (Dying Young) by Rob Thomas. In case that link is wacky.

  11. Your colleague spoke some very wise words, and I am glad they managed to change your perspective on getting older. My late husband only reached 41 years and 5 days, and that was 9 years ago. I sometimes wonder what he would have been like at 50, but I will never know.
    Anyway, enough of the sadness! A slightly belated Happy Birthday to you, dear Jennifer!

  12. Here's a poem I give to people on their birthday:

    won’t you celebrate with me
    Lucille Clifton, 1936 - 2010

    won’t you celebrate with me
    what i have shaped into
    a kind of life? i had no model.
    born in babylon
    both nonwhite and woman
    what did i see to be except myself?
    i made it up
    here on this bridge between
    starshine and clay,
    my one hand holding tight
    my other hand; come celebrate
    with me that everyday
    something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.