It may seem a bit odd to say, but I have been overwhelmed by the level of support and caring as shown by all of the people who came out to celebrate my birthday. I am not used to being the center of attention and I am much more of an observer or wallflower at times. I was unsure as to who would want to celebrate my birthday with me outside of my family. (Thanks Mom & Dad for the card and necklace in the mail! They like to send something for me to be able to open on the day of my birthday when I won't be able to be with them on the actual day.) I know it sounds crazy--I can't believe I questioned it.
First, I want to say that I did something that I think was quite brave of myself. I decided to send out an email to a bunch of people to invite them out to join me in celebrating my birthday. I titled the email, "I'm going to have my cake and eat it, too..." Then upon opening it, I said I was going out for cheesecake and to feel free to join me. This took a lot of courage on my part because I didn't know what the response would be. I need to realize that I am deserving of love and attention from those who share in my life. And why should I question that they would want to spend time with me?
It was a fun dinner and awesome cheesecake. But what was even more special was that my friends and New Guy came out to spend the evening with me. I had a few people from different circles of my life meeting. I wasn't sure how it would go and I really hoped that people would like each other and have a good time. But I reminded myself to go with the flow and relax and enjoy the evening. When they brought out the cheesecake and everyone started singing, I just felt so special and happy. I was so touched and felt so loved. It was awesome.
Then backing up a bit, earlier in the day, New Guy took me to lunch. We went and had home made perogies at his grandma's church. It gave us chance to talk, talk in that way where you share some very personal things. It felt to me like a moment of not holding back and taking that risk to be disclosive about oneself. I so appreciated New Guy opening up to me and trusting me in telling me some of the things that he shared.
We also stopped by his dad's work to drop off some of the perogies for his parents. They surprised me with cake and a present. I had not expected that! The time and thought that they put into it is moving and has significance. It was just so unexpected, but so appreciated.
Then, we stopped by New Guy's grandma's. She was not able to be at the church because she had injured her back and was at home resting. She was just so sweet and just kept laughing. I felt badly because it hurt her back to laugh, but then I found it inspiring because she just couldn't help herself. Even with not feeling at her best, she still focused on the good and the humor in her life. And it was then, as I looked over at New Guy and he was laughing with his grandma that I thought, so, that is where he gets it. Watching them laugh together with a twinkle in their eyes made me realize again one of the things I love about him. He lives with enthusiasm, an energy that is contagious and amplified when he is able to share it with those around him.
Finally, New Guy planned a birthday barbecue for me on Sunday. It was so very special for me because no one has thrown a birthday party for me other than my parents. And again, I was surprised by how people came to share in the celebration. I was overwhelmed by all of this birthday celebrating and focus on me. For the first part of the party, I think there were times that I was in the moment and enjoying myself. But then I started to feel an overload and overwhelmed by it all that I started to withdraw and was quiet.
To give a little history that may also shed some light on my experiences with birthdays, it is important to know my 30th birthday was a disaster. I had been bold then in planning a birthday party for me and my ex since we were both turning 30 only days apart. He seemed a bit reluctant and even untrusting in my ability to pull it off. But we had planned the party and I was excited to give it my best effort. Then the night before, my ex told me that our party wouldn't be a birthday party and it would be a football party because his uncle was going to throw a surprise birthday party for his aunt. His uncle would use our birthday as a ploy to get her to the location without her knowing it a few weeks later. I don't know why I didn't speak up and tell him to tell his mother and uncle that they would have to come up with another plan. I was just so taken aback by the whole thing, that I just didn't know what to do. What resulted was opening presents on the sly and unceremoniously cutting the cake so that his aunt wouldn't notice it was a birthday cake. (The cake was decorated half in Browns colors and half in Steelers colors, so it lent itself to being a football themed cake as we were watching the Browns play the Steelers.) The experience has left me feeling hurt and broken about my birthday.
I don't know why I question why people would want to spend time with me. I have to value and trust in myself as being a worthy person. This is admitting to a lot of insecurity and makes me feel very vulnerable. I feel silly and somewhat angry at myself for even questioning my value as a human being. I just hope that I did not come off as ungrateful or uncaring. I guess I worry and hope that people had a good time. It is when I fall into these thoughts that I drop the ball and unintentionally remove myself from the situation and stop living in the moment. I'm glad that I am realizing it more when I am doing it, but I want to figure out how to get myself out of it.
New Guy, thank you for all of your planning and effort and participation in my birthday! I really am grateful and so happy to have you to share in my life. I do not want to take for granted what you did for me for my birthday. It was a very special birthday for me and one that I have not had in a long time.