Birthday Girl

I’m 28 now! I know everything! Just kidding. I still know nothing.

I had a really quiet birthday, and I realized that’s exactly the kind of birthday I need. If you know me well enough, you know I used to hate my birthday. So back up to three years ago when everything in my life that had just been falling apart…finally started to get better. I was 25 when I decided I wasn’t going to hate my birthday anymore. It’s just another year I get to be here, soaking up the love of my favorite people.

The exact moment I stopped hating my birthday: My 25th Birthday.
The exact moment I stopped hating my birthday: My 25th Birthday.

So now, here we are, three years later, and I’m so grateful for the way it’s all been playing out since then. I especially love that even though my perspective on my birthday has changed throughout my life, there is one person who has consistently made me feel truly special about it: my mom, of course.

Now that I have a child of my own, I GET IT. I totally get it. It’s just like the gap in my teeth. I’ve always hated the gap in between my two front teeth, and then I had Magical Maggie, who also has a gap in her teeth: a gap that takes my breath away and fills my heart with love every time she smiles. I get it now. Everything I do is magical to my mom.

So, what does a mom get her 28-year-old daughter who hates social situations that require her to put on pants, and only recently started liking her birthday? THIS.

My mom bought a beautiful binder, and filled it with the most magical pieces of paper.

“If you use these reciPIES, please put them back in alphabetical order,” says my elementary-school-aged Mom to her Mom, I assume, since I’m not sure how much cooking my uncles and grandpa did in the kitchen. I imagine the time she put into alphabetizing those recipes, and how proud she must have been of her work. I imagine my grandmother’s quiet smile of approval.

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Just when I started to realize the amount of awesome that was about to ensue, I flip to pages of little hands and scribbles: Maggie’s hand, Ryan’s hand, and Kinsey’s hand. I immediately know I’ll pour over these pages when I’m older, when I’m missing Maggie, and her smallness.

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She made copies of handwritten recipes from our family, including recipes in her handwriting that I remember looking at when I was a little girl. I immediately know I’ll pour over these pages when I’m older, when I’m missing my mom.

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They weren’t all fancy, hence the permanent markered “Cheese Sauce” that has no title – I just know what it is by looking at the ingredients. Watch out, cauliflower, I’m comin’ to get you.
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She even included this recipe, handwritten by our beloved Nick, and I know that I’ll make this recipe when I need the warmth of a familiar friend standing beside me, even if I can’t see him.

IMG_2778My new recipe book is a living, breathing book, filled with memories and spirits and ink that weighs on my heart in the most special way. I’m so grateful my mom thought I was worth the trouble – for the cookbook, for giving me life.

I don’t hate my birthday anymore.
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