Around 10 or 11, my dad started this tradition that we would have crab legs on or around our birthday; especially since it always seemed to fall around our vacations. My dad had a rule about seafood being the best at the beach especially a North Carolina beach but then he was born and raised there. Important side note: I was born on my dad's 42nd or 43rd birthday (I've never been real sure on the days) and that was planned. The doctor asked when to have the c-section and my dad said "why not." My mama tells the story better. It was never a big deal and I never really understood it until that 10th or 11th birthday when he started the crab leg tradition. Well crab legs and mini-golf that was our thing; there are amazing courses and incredible seafood all along the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia coasts so no matter where we went it worked out.But this year I was wanted to and felt okay with celebrating on my birthday. I had plans: crab legs that night or weekend, mini-golf and a sno-cone. I had some confidence in saying this is my birthday; its my day. Last year was really rocky for me: I had made some needed but very hard decisions for myself for the first time I could really remember. But I was really broken and doubting every move I seemed to make. I don't even remember what we did last year for my birthday. But this year was supposed to be different. I'm a grown woman: proud of all the work she's done and is doing. All she is becoming.
After I lost my dad, it has been a little difficult for me (especially that first year) to celebrate my birthday; but that eased with time. Mainly because that was never my parents idea and definitely not my dads. My birthday was always my birthday about me being around and we celebrated my dad's a day later or earlier. At that first year my family really stepped up for me, nine-ish years ago, we ate crab legs, played a round of lower key mini-golf and hung out together on the beaches my dad loved.
Then the other shoe dropped. The one I feel is always hanging over my life and head. I had literally just climbed a mountain something I've always wanted to do and the next day I was crying in pain, not because of my sore muscles or feet, due to a tooth. You heard me a tooth! A few days before my birthday and a girl who has dealt with severe I.B.S. and G.E.R.D. (t.b.c. at a later date) is sidelined by a tooth. I have to admit this tooth was horrible; couldn't breathe without wanting to punch a wall. Luckily, I have an AMAZING dentist who heard me and lined me up with the right dental specialty to address the issue. Only the issue was bigger than one tooth, it was one up front that are apparently trickier than I originally thought: one day out of work and back to my plans. Nope, pain continued and I missed more work. (I hate missing work ... urgh ... again another t.b.c.). So, the specialist fixed the first problem tooth, found the second way back in my mouth, fixed it; put me on some antibiotics. I was set to be right as rain. Back to work and birthday plans still on. Yeah well no; woke up in tears again turns out all that time spent this week in the chair screwed up my shoulder.
So last year I spent my birthday moping around (okay to be fair; I was processing a lot of stuff; I'm allowed to be a little low on my birthday). Long story short this year I've been a little mopey yet again. Given pain makes it kind of hard to celebrate things even when they aren't complicated by grief, loss, and life's sharp left turns. So here's what I'm holding onto this year; here's what I got reminded of how this year is different from last year.
- I have an amazing mama to notice when things are not my normal and take care of me when I'm not able to do a great job of it myself.
- An amazing sister, brother in law, and nephews to send me treats throughout the week to remind me of my birthday and that I'm loved.
- A great dentist, specialist, tech, and front office staffs that listen to me and don't prejudge me because of my chronic disorders
- Coworkers and superiors who are so understanding.
- Sweet friends and family who reached out to me this week.
- Little moments that reminded me how blessed I am.
Birthdays are great, moments of celebration have their place. But I'm really grateful for how my parents always put the importance on the person, on our blessing of being together, being a family. So no matter how hard it has been the past few days or may be in next few days; I'm going to try to remember those moments and that lesson. People matter and they often find unexpected ways of reminding me that I matter to.