As a child, May 31st was an exciting day. Preparations for my birthday were well on their way. That night was so difficult for me to rest and sleep. Summer was in full bloom (most of the time!), school was coming to a close, summer dresses were broken out, the light of day was so much longer, and I was going to celebrate being a year older and celebrate MY DAY.
June 1st, 1981, my parents welcomed me into this world after my mother had been blowing up balloons for my grandmother's birthday celebration. They got me as a gift! Their third baby girl in less than 4 years. And little did they know the spit fire that they were blessed with!
June 1st, 1986, I was in kindergarten and Mrs. Sciog made me a golden crown with a jeweled number 5 on it. Ok...maybe it was yellow paper and rainbow glitter but I LOVED it and saved it for many many years as I did feel like queen of the day.
June 1st, 1991, I clearly remember my Uncle Mike pumping me up for the big 10 by telling me how I was now into "double digits." That was so cool.
June 1st, 1997, I was given my long awaited charm bracelet by my Grandmother Schmitt for my sweet 16.
June 1st, 1999, I was asked to spend the rest of my life with the man I had fallen in love with at such a young age and continue to love every day of my life. Dreams came true.
June 1st, 2002, I held my first baby boy in my womb and packed boxes to move half way across the country to a place where God would grow us immensely.
June 1st, 2008. Just hours after my third baby boy left this earth forever. I awoke in the middle of the night panic stricken and searching desperately through the sheets for my baby boy, awoken by the voice of my husband telling me it was ok but I could only dream of holding him again. As we awoke that morning, my husband held me and we sobbed as the saddest we have ever been overwhelmed us. My oldest came into the room and played cards and did his best to put bandaids on his mama and daddy's gaping wounded hearts. I called dear friends and spoke words of loss and hurt to them. I was sung the original rendition of "Sucky Birthday To You" by my amazing husband who is the only one who could bring a smile to my face at that moment. I went to a funeral home and picked out dead-people-cards (not sure what those are actually called) and made cremation arrangements while my baby boy's body lay behind the door adjacent to the office I was sitting in. I sat in a vehicle with my husband as we drove up and down the boulevard unappetized to eat anything but knowing we must have something and crying in each parking lot we stopped in. I sat in a home filled with loved ones at a table filled with lifetime favorites of BBQ ribs and ice cream cake and sung "Happy Birthday"....but felt nothing but hurt and loss and sadness.
Every June 1st since then, I have struggled to put on a smile and feel the "Happy Birthday." My birthday has become a day of a conflicted heart. That one birthday reaks havock on this heart of mine. Any other day? Really? June 1st was spent like that? As if there could be a better day to do all those things, but it sets my heart in such conflict for today.
But God is bigger. So much bigger. Through the conflict, I see more clearly. I appreciate the simplicity of the day. The gifts I get are not wrapped in beautiful paper or mailed in cards. The tangible gifts I get...well, they are these precious children who just beam with excitement for me. All they can think is excitement and celebration...and that is such a gift and I can see it through them...they are contagious. The gift I get is a husband torn for his wife. His love shows through his concern for me. His heart is worn on his sleeve as he too struggles with what to do for this day and how to make is special and make me feel like that 5 year old queen again. He never fails.
June 1st, 2011, my 30th birthday, I awoke to the tender goodbye kiss of my husband and the sweet "Happy Birthday" of his voice. My baby boy number 5 sleeps soundly in my womb. I peeked in on my two older boys sound asleep in the morning sunlight. I walked the yard with my 22 1/2 month old, watched cars and buses go by as they begin their work days, and was made aware of all the ants and spiders in our vicinity. I peered into my flower garden where some sweet memories of Jacob are held. I look forward to the rest of the day.
Simplicity. I find my happy birthday in the simplicity of the day. Happy Birthday to me. Really.
"Thank you, Jesus, for the excitement of childhood birthdays, the significance of the teenage ones, the devastation of my 27th all to bring me to see the intricate simplicity of my days from here on out."
Love you all. Karen