I know that in the overarching scheme of things, thirty-seven is not a huge number. I know that, as it relates to birthdays, that it doesn’t mean I’m ancient. Also in relation to birthdays, I am relatively low-key. I’m not one of those people who announces that my birthday is coming every day for a week ahead of time (although I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that and actually might suggest it to you as a good idea if you happen to be a friend of mine, because I am seriously challenged when it comes to calendars. And dates. And time in general.) but I’m also not one of those people who never mentions their birthday, like it might slide by completely unnoticed. I’m really just kinda okay with birthdays most of the time.
Except when they come with the number thirty-seven attached, apparently. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. Maybe I read a story when I was young where the old crone evil stepmother happened to be thirty-seven. What I do know is that I have been in active denial of this birthday for some time now. No exuberant dancing on a chair at Navy Pier – no, that’s for carefree, young, thirty-six year olds. I haven’t been this bothered by a number since twenty-five, and that was largely because when I was in college my group of friends included this one guy named David Pemberton who had somehow been around long enough to be twenty-five while we were all in college and anytime we were talking about someone or something being really old it was described as “like, Pemberton old.” Not something that I wanted to be.
Predictably enough, no matter how much you ignore a birthday, it still comes around. And this one, for all it’s thirty-sevenness, has been remarkably sweet. My parents still sing to me. Friends have remembered from far away and close to home. Gifts have been given: a new journal, a beautiful t-shirt I admired but hadn’t bought, yummy smelling soap, a great pair of summer flip-flops that somehow make my whole self feel sexy. Even at thirty-seven. My kids started off the day climbing into bed with me to give me cards – one with butterflies to make me smile, one that sang rock around the clock because he knows I don’t ever want the party to end, one that played daydream believer. I don’t even have to explain that last one, do I?
And in all of these things, the precious part: these people know me. They really really know me, and love me anyway – enough to take the time to bring me some small thing to let me know.
So in turn, I have a small thing for you. I spent the last few days in Chicago at the arts conference that is so refreshing to my soul – yet another gift this birthday week – and I heard this wonderful girl sing this beautiful song. It resonated with my soul in ways I did not expect, and as you listen, I hope that you will hear my heart singing to you. My gift, this day, for you.
(click the player to hear)