On my 31st Birthday: A List

It has been a beautiful day.

Enjoying your birthday is a skill, I think. I often  During the last several years, I've had good ones, and I have some thoughts about it.

1. Manage your expectations. This is probably the biggest birthday pitfall. I know I've had strange ideas about what birthdays mean in the past. Having a birthday does not transform me into a queen or a fairytale princess. I wake up and I think about what I expect right away. This morning, far from many friends and far from much of my family, I thought, "I am going to have a beautiful, peaceful day and adore my husband and kids." I'm still a mom, though, so I still did laundry, wiped a bum or two, and dealt with quarrels and falls and food needs.

2. Be as simple as possible. Last year it was lilacs and bread and a spaghetti supper. This year, we took rowboats on the lake, swam, and picnicked in a cove on the other side. We thought of many options and in the end, chose the one that was closest, cheapest (I think it cost a little less than $10 to take the rowboat out) and easiest.

3. Be ready to see beautiful things. The sweet couple from New York who have been staying here in the guesthouse left, but four days later they came back specially for my birthday. It was such a heartwarming gift, to have them here with us, happy for me on the day that I was born. Gosh, I love this couple. I wish I could adopt them. But they're not young enough, or parentless enough.

4. Use the opportunity to be dreamy and nostalgic. I'm thinking about goalsetting, about drawing out what I would like to accomplish over the next year, who I want to be and how I want to practise a life of prayer and writing and mothering and travel. I'll take some time before the day is over to write it down, draw it out.

Anyways, just something I've been thinking about today. I know the birthday thing can be a touchy subject. Sometimes it still is for me, especially away from things that are comforts, or if my husband is sick, or my kids are whiny, or whatever the issue of the day happens to be.

Here are last year's birthday thoughts.