I just turned 54. Normally I like to throw myself a big party. I like birthday parties. I like a house full of people I love- laughing, eating and talking. I think we should celebrate life every chance we get. But this year has been a quiet birthday. There is just so much going on at home and work that quiet and small was what my heart really needed. I got to thinking that size, energy, and extravagance aren’t really what makes those big parties great. It is the tiny moments that happen between two people in those loud moments. The tiny moments that forge bonds that outlast all that life throws at us. The tiny moments that remind us we are connected in ways that matter. We are connected not just by blood or DNA but by lifetimes shared, bruises healed, miracles rejoiced, and hands held through the darkest nights and earliest mornings. If we do it right, that kind of love becomes an avalanche that sweeps up our children, collects our friends and theirs on the fringe, who are afraid to dive in. It is not about gifts but the thought behind those gifts. The best gifts are the moments that we give each other. This year, more than ever, I am celebrating all of that on my quiet birthday. My heart is so full. This has been a year of reconnecting with old friends. It has been a year of learning to lean on my pack and of being there to hold them. It has been a year of forging deep bonds with my sisters. It has been a year of learning how all those great kids who touched my heart as teenagers turned out. (Spoiler alert for future posts– They turned out just like I knew they would- amazing. Every. Last. One.)
The most important moments of this year have been the moments that we have spent as a family preparing to send our daughter to college. There have been a million, beautiful, tiny moments. There has been laughter so deep and bold it turned to tears of joy. There have been tears so deep and painful that only bear hugs and time could cure them. We have walked down memory lane. We have practiced being adults. We have practiced being just a couple again. We have practiced letting go. We have practiced being in the moment.
Everything is sacred
when you take time to notice.
Big love happens
in small moments.
– JJ Heller.
So, for my birthday, that is all I wanted- a day of moments. But I got so much more. I got 14 sealed envelopes from my daughter. They are worth a thousand times their weight in gold. They are stronger than diamonds. I wouldn’t trade a single one for one hundred birthday parties. What greater gift for a mom than to know you are sending a young woman into the world who has a beautiful heart and who knows that it really is the thought that counts in life. Today I am giving myself a gift that will remind me of all of these moments and the ones yet to come. Give it some thought. Maybe your next present doesn’t require wrapping paper.