Last week was my birthday, a day that has been interesting for me throughout the years.
Some birthdays have been ornate affairs, with Dear Hubby organising dinner out. Some have been relaxed shindigs, with a BBQ and some mates.
I have had a failed surprise party for my 21st, where the surprise was that only 3 people turned up. Poor Hubby was heart-broken, as was I. We were a long way from family, and friends all pulled out leading up to it, so Hubby had well and truly over catered and had to juggle throwing me the surprise party, and then managing the aftermath when it was just him, me and another friend there.
I had the overlooked 31st birthday where I was in hospital for weeks after the birth of Master 6 and was too sick to even recall it. I spent 10 months telling people I was a 30-year-old mother of 2, until Dear Hubby finally decided to correct me just before I turned 32!
I have worked on my birthdays, and been on holidays or days off. With nursing, neither is a guarantee.
While I love celebrating other people’s events, I am not entirely comfortable with the pressure and attention of celebrating my own events. Certainly not hugely comfortable with organising an event that is all about me!
So this year I organised our house-warming for the same day as my birthday. I did this for many reasons, one of which is that having a day off on a weekend is a rarity, so double booking the thing seemed like a good idea. The other is that I did not tell anyone that I invited to the house-warming that it as my birthday, so then it was not me making a fuss.
But more than few friends figured it out!
What really moved me is that I had no idea how many people would take the time to turn up to my house-warming – I had literally a crowd, of mixed and diverse backgrounds, all eating, drinking, chatting and making themselves comfortable in my new home. It was as a house-warming should be – lots of food, drinks, kids running everywhere, laughter and conversation, a mixing of circles.
The house feels like it rose to the occasion if you like, now settling into its role as a location for love, laughter, sharing and gathering.
I drank wine, forgot to eat enough food, chatted to everyone and in the middle of it all we celebrated my birthday too.
I was surrounded by generosity, love and friendship, and I have always struggled to measure my worth as something as intangible as friendship is. But that gathering gave me something tangible to look at it and feel.
It was wonderful, and one of my best birthdays ever.