Yesterday was a big birthday for me. Another decade behind me and who knows how many more I might enjoy. The title of this piece comes from a young twenty year old woman who was auditioning for American Idol this year. She reminded me so much of me at her age….a free spirited hippie chick in her attire as well as her viewpoint on life, dreams, ambitions, her whole life before her with never a single thought to being old. When asked how old she was by the American Idol judges, she quickly replied, “I have been around the sun twenty times”. Her answer resonated with me as a wonderful way to express age. Instead of stating I am seventy years old, saying I have been around the sun seventy times implies a long journey filled with many wonderful adventures. And true to that, I feel I have had a very blessed and interesting life. Family, children, grandchildren, friends, travel and the many hills and valleys of life have all combined to make me the person I am today. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Just as a pebble dropped into a pond creates motion, each step or misstep in my life led me to the next. Changing any one thing would lead to a totally different memory book for me.
Today I went to work at a job that I truly love, working with people who truly care not only for me but for each other. We are caregivers and a work family that celebrates the beauty of our amazing department that daily changes lives in the diabetes world. My cubicle was crisscrossed with happy birthday banners, happy birthday signs, shiny birthday cakes, stars and circle confetti, floating balloons and streamers and a happy birthday tiara for my head. The Birthday Fairy had arrived during the night and transformed my work space into a magical place that made me feel extraordinary on my special day. To my co-worker who regularly creates this transformation, I thank you. It made me smile and I am grateful.
Birthday wishes, cards, and presents are all celebrations of the completion of one more trip around the sun. Like fireworks on the Fourth of July, or the bells, whistles and sirens that emanate from a football scoreboard when the home team scores a touchdown, they are an affirmation of a wonderful event.
A highlight of each of my birthdays is when my oldest sister once more relates to me the circumstances of my arrival into her world. She describes in intricate detail her first sighting of my bassinet covered with a dotted swiss material and my Mother affixing to the bassinet a pink bow from a box of candy my Daddy had given to her. She describes a trip to the hospital to wave at our Mother through the hospital window, my arrival at home and the people who were present, the hush of our Mother’s room because she was ill, the knitted blue blanket that covered me in my crib, a baby bath. Each year I eagerly anticipate the repeating of a part of my life of which I have absolutely no memory. And each year some small additional detail may slip out. Special birthday events that have enormous meaning to me.
Birthdays are important and should be celebrated as milestones in our journey of life. Happy travels in your own special journey around the sun.