I normally am not a big fan of my birthday. I love celebrating the birthdays of friends and loved ones, but when it comes to me I’d just as soon take a pass. I can’t tell you particularly why, but in recent history I’ve simply tried not to make too big a deal of this day. As my birthday approached this year, I was reminded daily by my daughter how my ‘special’ day would soon be upon us, and how excited she was at the idea of celebrating it. So I decided to embrace my birthday head on, and what a special day it turned out to be.
I have to begin by mentioning how fortunate and blessed I am to be surrounded by such loving family and friends. It is this collection of individuals that creates such an amazing support structure, and I am very lucky to know I have so many wonderful people in my proverbial corner.
From birthday cards to MySpace comments to text messages on my cell, my day was filled with constant well wishes from friends and family. Notes on Facebook, message board postings, e-mails, phone calls ……. just about every medium that could be used to deliver a message, with the exception of personal messenger or carrier pigeons, was used.
My day started out as usual, with me trying to squeeze in another 5 minutes of sleep while Lee was getting ready for work. As she kissed me goodbye and wished me a happy birthday for the 18th time, my work pager went off. “This is NOT how I want to start my birthday” I thought to myself. My pager going off is usually not a good thing. But instead of being summoned to a conference call or being alerted of a system outage, the message on my pager simply said. “Happy Birthday. Go Fins!”
I grabbed my coffee, downed a bagel and headed off to work. Normally the traffic and road congestion would put me in a grumpy-morning mood, but I could tell the weather would provide us a crisp, sunny day and I gazed at the still rising sun and said a quick prayer of thanks to God. With the sun shining brightly and my acoustic Sister Hazel playlist playing on my iPod, I got that feeling the day was going to be a great one.
Work came and went, yet it was nicely interrupted by a lunch invitation from one of my vendors. I hadn’t been taken out to lunch in quite a while, and the fact this particular vendor came calling on my birthday was yet another sign of how special this day would turn out to be. And besides, there is never anything wrong with a free lunch.
I left work and set off to pickup my kids from school. Lee called me to warn me about terrible traffic delays on the interstate, yet I managed to avoid it all as the congestion began just a quarter-mile past my exit to go home. Another touch of birthday luck.
I walked into the after-school area to find Natalie and Daniel waiting for me, each with a large and excited smile on their face. Later, the three of us came home to the aroma of the already-delivered pizza Lee had ordered. We sat down at the table, shared a blessing and ate our dinner together as a family. For desert we dove into a wonderful Dolphins themed birthday cake Lee and her mom bought for me and, of course, ice cream.
The night concluded with the kids going home with their mom and Lee and I retiring to our room where we snuggled up together and watched Duke beat North Carolina in basketball. I don’t really get into college basketball until March Madness, but Duke/UNC is the one game I go out of my way to watch. I flipped back and forth between the hoops and the soccer friendly between USA and Mexico. Add to that the fact the University of Miami finished with the 1 ranked recruiting class and it turns out my special day was also a good sports day as well.
There are so many little details I know I am leaving out, yet the overall gist of blog is that I am completely overwhelmed by the outpouring I received today from everyone around me. I sit back in awe at the great fortune God has bestowed on my life. Healthy children, supportive friends, a loving family, and a girlfriend who redefines what it means to love unconditionally. Three years ago I celebrated my birthday with only my children. Heck, I even bought my own cake. Today I feel I celebrated my birthday with literally the hundreds of people whom I am honored to call my friends and family. If there’s one thing I realize it’s that what makes this day so special has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the many special people around me.
Thanks again, everyone.