I love birthdays. My own of course (which happens to be today!), but I also love celebrating anyone's birthday! I mean, really, who doesn't? Sweet treats, time with friends and family, fun surprises, reflections on another year of life given by a God who himself creates and sustains all things. So today, I thought I would just write down a few of my memories of birthdays past.
Birthdays growing up were always very fun. We usually had two parties. First a family party, often at our own house, often at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and filled with lots of cake and ice cream, aunts, uncles and cousins, and of course, the "You are Special Today" plate. And then we always had a friends party, too! Sometimes pretty simple, sometimes more elaborate, but always fun!
One of the very earliest birthday gifts I remember receiving was from my Grandma and Grandpa Burgin. I was probably 4 or 5. You see, they had taught me to play Cribbage (a card game, for those of you who have never heard of it) when I was very little. In fact, so little that my fine motor skills had not progressed enough to be able to shuffle the cards. So for my birthday, Grandma and Grandpa gave me a little motorized card shuffler. I LOVED that thing. I used it constantly.
My ninth birthday was one I will never forget! My mom and I planned a very elaborate "kidnap party" for all of my friends. Basically, the party was a surprise not to me, but to all of my friends. We of course informed all of the mothers that we would be coming very early on a Saturday morning to "kidnap" all of my little friends in their jammies. We went to their houses one by one and woke them up and brought them all back to our house for doughnuts and a pajama fashion show! Such fun! My mom even went to all of the trouble to bring the video camera along to video us waking up each little girl...but unfortunately she was pressing the wrong button! Dad saved the day, though, and videotaped the rest of the party once we arrived back at the house!
My most memorable gift from my Mom and Dad was given to me on my tenth birthday. Some of my favorite books growing up were the American Girl series. I loved all historical fiction, but I especially loved the Kirsten stories - about a Swedish immigrant girl growing up during the pioneer era. On my tenth birthday, Mom and Dad gave me Kirsten, the American Girl doll. I spent hours (even through middle school and high school!) playing with that doll, dressing her up, doing her hair, and daydreaming about the simple life she lived. If I'm truly honest, I can't wait for the day that Anna Kate and Caroline are old enough to play with her so that I can have an excuse to get her out again! Right now we're still in the drag-baby-dolls-around-a-little-too-rough stage!
I received a very creative gift from my Aunt Patty on my twelfth birthday. Aunt Patty has always been known for her thoughtful and personal birthday gifts. At this time we lived in Miami and Aunt Patty lived in Seattle. She sent me a birthday card that said my gift would involve "trains, boats, and planes" but that I would have to wait until summer. That July, she helped fly me out to Portland (to Grandma and Grandpa's), bought me a train ticket to Seattle, and arranged a week long sailboat trip with friends up the Puget Sound. It was incredible! We ate and slept on the boat as we journeyed through the beautiful scenery of the Olympic Mountains. She even let me drive the little dinghy myself! She also made me keep a
hat on at all times so that my face wouldn't get sunburned, but because
of the wind, we had to wear little straps that attached it to our
jackets - I thought they were a little dorky! We stopped at various points to hike or visit little towns, but most of our time was spent out on the water. Such a neat time!
My birthday always falls on or around Superbowl weekend. My freshman year at Furman, my roommate Whitney, along with a number of our other hallmates and our brother hall, arranged a big surprise party for me! Mom and Dad secretly had the cake sent, and my friends invited me to what I thought was just a Superbowl party. Truly, I didn't even know if these friends of mine (who I had only known for 5 months) even realized that my birthday was the same day. I was extremely surprised to find out when I arrived that the party was for me! The only downside to the day was that they all threw me into the Furman lake when we arrived back on campus. It was nasty! And it was a good 1/4 mile back to my dorm. And it was cold. But I suffered though it. All in the name of tradition!
My next three birthdays during college were spent with Luke at our favorite restaurant in downtown Greenville - Trio's. It was there that we decided dipping foccacio bread in olive oil with herbs would have to be a part of our meals more often! We loved going there on special occasions and he always made me feel extremely special. I remember one of those birthdays he bought me roses and around each one he had wrapped a little note telling me that he loved me in a dozen different languages! And that was before Pinterest!
I will never forget my twenty-fifth birthday. February 1st, 2010. I was thirty-eight weeks pregnant with Anna Kate and we had quite a snowstorm in Wake Forest. I was so excited to wake up that Monday morning to find out that school had been cancelled. I wouldn't have to go be on my feet all day and deal with 90+ middle schoolers! What joy! We spent the day watching the snow fall and playing Settlers of Catan with our good friends Heather and Jonathan, and hoping that Anna Kate might make her appearance that day to share a birthday with me. Here is the blogpost I wrote that day: 25th Birthday and 38 weeks.
And here's the post I wrote a couple days earlier about our big snow and another big snow that same weekend in 1985: Snow Day
And that brings us to today. I have spent the morning relaxing while Luke has done all of the diapers and dishes! I have also listened to sweet sounds from the kitchen as he and Anna Kate (with a little help from Caroline) baked me a chocolate chip cake to enjoy tonight.
I am truly blessed and thankful to God to have another year of my life with my sweet little family.