Friday, February 25, 2011

Every Day is a Birthday

Today is my birthday :-)

But for the past month, it didn’t feel like my 38th year on Earth was approaching. Normally, as soon as February 1st hits, I’m in a celebratory mood. I look forward to celebrating with friends and family the entire month.

But this month was different. My cat, who is like a child to me, was getting sicker and sicker. And then I caught what seems to be El Diablo of colds….probably a flu…and I’ve been trying to shake it for weeks now. Coughing, wheezing and trying to love up my cat as much as I can - that’s all I was focused on. At the start of this week, someone asked me what I was doing on Friday and I said, “Going home, why?” I didn’t even remember what day it was. My special day didn’t seem like it was going to be special at all.

Until 7:05 this morning when my cell phone rang. In a sleepy haze, I reached around for my phone and couldn’t even open my eyes wide enough to read the display to see who was calling. I answered a groggy “hello”….and then…

“Happy birthday to youuuu, happy birthday to youoooo, happy birthday dear Auntieeeee! Happy birthday day to youooooo!”

I felt my spirit rise and a smile stretched across my face. My gorgeous, amazing nephews were the first to serenade me with birthday wishes….and my birthday suddenly became the special day it’s always been.

I said my “thank you’s” and “love you’s” as they argued over where to throw my birthday party when I came home to Philly – the “bowling place” or Chuck E. Cheese. My sister broke up the fight by saying that “Auntie can choose when she gets here.”

“We can have my party at both places. Bowling on a Saturday, Chuck E. Cheese on the following Sunday,” I reassured them.

“Yay!!!!” they yelled in unison. It occurred to me right then and there that birthdays aren’t just for you – they’re for everyone that loves you as well.

Whether you’re sick, or some challenge or issue is keeping you in a funky mood, there is always a reason to celebrate life. As my dad reminded me this morning, every day is a birthday…a chance to begin anew. The actual birth date is just the milestone we celebrate to remind us to be thankful for all of God’s blessings…and His grace to see us through to another year under His mercy.

I was going to “skip out” on this birthday…sit it out. I thought to myself, “Maybe I’ll celebrate next year when I’m feeling better. Or when I’m not sad over Cole.” But then I realized that next year isn’t promised. I shouldn’t hold back on this year because of a cough or because of sadness, because there’s no telling what I’ll miss if I’m not fully present right now, and there may not be another go-around.

At first I felt guilty, like…”how can I be happy and celebrate my birthday when I’m so sad over my cat’s illness?” It didn’t seem right. To those without pets or a love for animals, this may sound a bit silly to you. But anyone who knows me knows that this is heavy on my heart, because my pet is my family.

After I hung up with my sister and nephews while still lying in bed, my cat walked into the bedroom, meowing. He barely makes a peep nowadays, but he walked into the room as if he was singing a “good morning” to me. I watched him slide over to the side of the bed and I reached out my hand to pet him. He stopped just short of my hand and looked up at the bed. For weeks now, he’s been too weak to jump up on the sofa, let alone the bed. I saw in his eyes that he was going to attempt…so I made room to catch him so he wouldn’t fall back to the floor if he couldn’t make it. But to my surprise, he made it! – jumped with full strength…and then cuddled up to me and licked my hand and rubbed his face against mine. Tears streamed down my face because it was like he knew it was my birthday, and he wanted to be near me. I was late for work this morning because I laid with him for another half hour, just petting him and loving him.

Those moments are the ones you wish you had more of. I’ve never wished to spend more time at work, but I know one day I’ll wish I had more time with Cole. Work isn’t going anywhere. They can wait.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, sad and to try to shut everything out. No one is promised complete immunity from the discords of living a human life. Problems, sickness and sadness inevitably arise, but they can only lead to blessings because through the discord we rise higher in consciousness…and this ultimately brings harmony. To move through darkness into the light, we have to empower ourselves by discovering resources of joy, peace and wisdom. This gives us the strength to withstand being overpowered, either by outside forces, or from within ourselves - and to feel, live and love life first hand, to exist fully.

Birthdays remind us that every experience that we have, year to year, is a positive lesson in our lives that invite us to learn and grow. This year, my lesson is to receive and accept each lesson with gratitude, even before I know what the benefits might be. I rejoice and give thanks when difficulties occur, not because of the suffering involved, but because of what will come of it. Faith produces courage and prepares you to meet any obstacles that come your way, as well as prepares you to expect only the best that God has to offer. I can’t wait to see what this year brings, and I’m thankful God has seen me through and given me the celebratory spirit I need to live a full life now. I hope you all come celebrate with me!

-b

29 comments:

Yolanda said...

First on the birthday beeeches!

Happy birthday Brooke ... and Cole has many more lives! He is 'ret to partay!

Be blessed on your bday and everyday.

Stef said...

Happy Birthday Brookey! That blog was EXCELLENT! Wishing you all the best today and EVERY DAY!

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Happy Birthday, Brooke. This is one of the best posts you've ever written - absolutely fantastic. I hope you have a marvelous day, and enjoy your time with family and loved ones over the next few days.

And you're right - no one on Earth is promised tomorrow. Enjoy each day like it's your last. And love Cole for as long as you are blessed to have him in your life.

Jay said...

Brooke, this post was amazing. I agree with Rameer, one of the best you've ever written. Where is this book already! You have talent.

Happy birthday! I know you've been down lately, but you are and will always be an ispiration and your sadness will pass. Celebrate today and worry later. You'll be okay :)

Wishing you nothing but the best, because you deserve it!

Jaz said...

Happy Birthday Brookey! I'm thankful for your blog and your talent, keep doing what you're doing and celebrate today! All the happiness in the world!

Delone said...

You're quite the inspiration, Brooke. Happy birthday and I wish you many more to come. God bless.

Brooke said...

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and well wishes for Cole. Rameer, you made me smile :) All of you did...you have no idea how much your words mean to me and how badly I needed to read them. Thank you!

Annamaria aka A-Buzz said...

I told you at 7 this morning & I'll say it again HAVE A WONDERFUL birthday!!! May god bless you with many many more birthdays. Blast the music on your way to Philly & sing & dance in your car & have a wonderful weekend with your family!

XOXOXOXO

Brooke said...

Thank you Annamaria! You were bright and early with the birthday wishes! I'm not going to Philly until next weekend, but I'll be sure to blast the music when I DO go! LOL!

Annamaria said...

Brooke you are an amazing woman with a wonderful spirit. You are naturally a blessed person. We all get down sometimes but please make sure that you spend today knowing how blessed you are & how much your friendship is appreciated every day!

Brooke said...

awww, thank you Annamaria, that means so much to me! I'm going to dinner tonight to celebrate, and there are some other friends' birthdays I hope to celebrate this weekend as well if I can get rid of this cough. I missed one last night, so i have to make it up to your boy :) A lot going on!

I'm really looking forwad to Chuck E. Cheese with my boys though! LOL!

And I got your wedding invitation, I didn't forget to rsvp! I'm just looking at some things to see if I can go to DR to celebrate with you. Hopefully will know soon!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Blog. Happy Birthday and many lessons more. God Bless.

Geeque said...

Happy Birthday Brooke!!!!
Cumpleaños Feliz
Bon anniversaire
Buon Compleanno

Valerie said...

My Best friend,
Happy Birthday again! Your birthday is a very special day for me as your friend because I can think back at all the years we have been friends and all of the amazing & hilarious ways we've celebrated over the years... remember that time in Philly at the club... getting drunk... that crazy girl...OMG, i'll stop there. LOL!!!!!
Seriously, You are like my sister and I wish nothing but greatness for you.
I love you girl always
Tu mejor Amiga Val

Brooke said...

VAL! Now I feel truly special because my best friend, even after calling me this morning, logged on to the blog to wish me happy birthday AGAIN! She never does that! LOL!

I love you Val, and you ARE my sister!

and yes, I remember that birthday well. I always seem to attract the women who are into "girl love" LOL! I must be sexy to ALL the sexes! :)

You are my oldest and dearest friend and you mean the world to me. I hope we can get togeher soon and celebrate! Thank you!

Geeque is multi-lingual! Thank you!

Thank you anonymous!

Domina*Tricks said...

Yes, you ARE sexy to ALL the sexes! You KNOW that's how I feel anyway :)

Happy Birthday Brooke, this blog was superb. I hope you do something fun and sexy this weekend, and if you have no plans, let me know ;) I'll take care of that!

Enjoy!

DMoe said...

17th!

Who else want some?

Brooke,

Happy birthday...Your an extremely special woman, and I wish the best for you today, tomorrow, and the days after that.

Love,
Dmoe

john said...

I was sincerely moved by your blog Brooke, especially since I'm a fellow Pisces we're so emotional : ) I humbly felt every line Brooke and today had me teared up I'm proud to say. The Little Old Man "Cole" reminded me me of my Uncle Willie right before his passing from a long battle w/cancer he mustered up enough strength to bless and name my son Micah just 2 weeks before he went home to God...It was very very moving and made everything crystal clear on what's important in the brief puff of smoke we call life. I love you my friend Brooke D Dean Happy 38th I still think you're as beautiful as you were at 28 probably even sexier now than then your mind is brilliant.

Serena W. said...

Happy Birthday Brooke!!!! You're a great spirit and wonderful soul! I love you so much and I'm glad you're in my life. God bless!

Serena W. said...

Also this was a great blog! As Jay said..."When's the book coming out?"

Brooke said...

Thank you Domina*tricks, DMoe and John :) You all make me feel so special today, and always. Love you!

Brooke said...

Serena! Thank you! I love you too and I'm so proud to call you my dear freind! Nothing but great things for us this year!

I'll have to pick your brain on how to get published, my talented writer friend :)

phillygrl said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROOKE!!! ENJOY, Celebrate!!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful blog today Brooke. It brought tears to my eyes and warmed my soul. I know how much you love Cole. I will keep him in my prayers, and please tell him that I love him.

Love you too! Happy Birthday you wonderful, beautiful soul.

Love,
SuSu

Brooke said...

Thank you Karen and Su!

Su, I know you love Cole too - he adores you! I love how he just comes over to you every time you visit :)

Courtney said...

Happy Birthday Brooke! Your blog touched me deeply, excellent as always! I'd buy any book from you!

Enjoy your day and Cole and celebrate!

The Cable Guy said...

Happy Birthday!

Brooke, you are an amazing woman and spirit and I feel blessed to know you. I don't know any other woman with your beauty, intelligence, heart, talent, or spirit. You are a gem and touch all the lives of those who are fortunate enough to know you. I hope you celebrate to the fullest!

Great blog!

Brooke said...

Thanks Courtney and Cable Guy!

I am truly lucky and I thank you all for being my blog family!

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