Birthday Reality Check

My birthday is in the month of December.

It wasn’t great as a kid to have your birthday smashed between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most people would tell me something like the following: Oh, I didn’t get you a birthday gift because I am going to get you an extra big gift for Christmas. LIARS!

I never did get the extra big gift. I’ve survived it, of course, but trust me, for most of my life if you missed my birthday you were dead meat. I used to, key words ‘used to’, keep a pad of paper next to the phone and write down the names of every person who called to wish me happy birthday. If you remembered, you were my friend. If you didn’t, you weren’t. Every December I cleaned out my friendship closet. I bet you can guess I never had to many long-term friends.

Before Fearless Living, I was absolutely unrealistic when it came to friendships. Let’s not even mention relationships. ‘Unrealistic expectations’ was my middle name. Back then, I called it loyalty and love. Now, I call it fear. I realize now it’s no one’s job to remember my birthday. It’s nice if someone does, but it isn’t mandatory to earn my love.

So let’s talk about this birthday. As you all know I am living with Mr. Love-A-Lot in Colorado and have no real friends to speak of…yet. (I am working on it.) So I figured Mr. Love-A-Lot and our daughter would take me out to dinner and, if I was lucky, have someone (a waiter perhaps) sing me my favorite song: Happy Birthday.

Well, the morning started off just perfect….with a surprise. I love surprises. Mr. Love-A-Lot decorated the house, with the little ones help, with Happy Birthday balloons, confetti and a big bouquet of flowers. I love decorations so it was wonderful to wake up to the house spruced up for my special day. Now I could breath easy, he remembered. Whew!

But there was no mention of anything going on that evening. So I just went on with my day, trying not to watch him like a hawk every minute. That problem was quickly solved as he dashed out of the house and was gone most of the day. Hmmmmm, I wondered, what is he up to…..

About five o’clock he comes rolling in with groceries mentioning something about making dinner. Well, that’s definitely a surprise. Mr. Love-A-Lot isn’t exactly a gourmet cook yet a dinner at home with the three of us started to sound nice. He shooed me out of the kitchen and I adjourned to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for our intimate dinner at home.

But as I was getting ready, I started to hear voices. We have friendly neighbors so I just figured they stopped by. But then I heard another voice. Hmmmmm, I thought, are there people here?

Key point to remember: I don’t have any particular close friends here. Now what’s running through my mind is: It is my birthday so who would be coming over? Who would these people be?

My thoughts were interrupted by Mr. Love-A-Lot announcing I should come down. And to my surprise, and eventual delight, Mr. Love-A-Lot had invited two couples over. I only knew the guys and didn’t know their gals. I tried not to think about what a loser (my good ol’ trigger) I must look like having complete strangers at my so-called birthday party. I mean, they were nice enough to bring flowers and dark chocolate but how did Mr. Love-A-Lot convince them to come to our house for a birthday celebration for me? What did he say?

You can imagine all the thoughts that started running through my mind. I knew if I kept this up I would be miserable all night. I didn’t want to be the party popper at my own party. So I quickly reminded myself that it was Mr. Love-A-Lots way of building community around me, gifting me with two women to meet and more importantly, giving me two couples to torture with card games. Since it was my birthday that is exactly what I did. After dinner, we played cards. Something we rarely do and something I love.

The women turned out to be funny, nice and warm. No one gave me the feeling of pity and I actually had a good time. I felt like, throughout the night, these four people had become my friends. By the end of the evening, I was so grateful to Mr. Love-A-Lot. He gave me the best gift of all….the gift of friendship. And that’s the one thing I had been wanting all year.

Happy Birthday to me!!!

In the year to come, may your birthday be sweet and rich and wonderful!