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.


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.


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.


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.

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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