Yesterday was my birthday and I bought myself the best gift! More on that in a minute!
Birthdays around here seem to come fast and furious...I guess it's just a numbers game but October is a busy month with three birthdays in our immediate family. My birthday doesn't tend to be a big hoopla...my doing mostly...I'm getting up there and I'm pretty clear on how little reminding I need in that department.
My oldest children are quite disturbed by the fact we haven't yet done cake, or given gifts, but to be honest...I'm good with that. You see, especially of late I am reminded of just how much I have.
How easy it is, and believe me I'm guilty as charged, to fall victim to the "I wish I had...." mentality that this world feeds continuously. We are bombarded daily with advertisements, sales pitches and media that define what we "should" have. Somehow this false sense of entitlement if not "checked", can creep in and become a focus in our lives. I've fallen prey ... that green eyed monster sneaks up and wreaks havoc with the ideal of a simple life that I really secretly desire. You know ... the friends that are taking family vacations, those that are buying newer, bigger homes with all the bells and whistles.... the ones with enough room for everyone to get their own bedroom....oh...and the master "suite"....not just a bedroom with a separate bath but literal hideaways for the sole purpose of ... hiding...it's not what I really dream of...
I tried hiding...they found me...(Note to self...the bathroom no longer works for "me time".)
As much as this seems like a great idea... it really isn't what I want. If I wanted "stuff" and not the life that I have then I would have remained a double income family with no children, multiple vacations a year, the fanciest of cars (something smaller than a 12 seater bus that requires "back up" warning sounds!), the latest in trendy wardrobes and a closet full of shoes!
It's not what I "want".....
I'm sure I'm not the only Mom who has delivered the speech ... "There's a big difference between what you want and what you need"... I believe I have witnessed a bit of eye rolling in this house when I've launched into my well tuned rendition of this tirade. But it's not something I take lightly...Yes we have a large family and yes that means my children haven't been to Disney, but oh my... we are blessed beyond measure in so many other ways!
What we may lack in the material department we "own" in the family department! We have tried to ensure we celebrate the simpler things...appreciate what we have. Believe me there is no "lack" here...I'm still quite sure a large dumpster in the driveway could be filled with all we don't "need".
I understand the importance of celebrating birthdays...after all each one of us is worth celebrating ... yes, even me and the lots of candles on my cake. But what I know is.....the handmade cards from each of my children, the big hug and well wishes on the morning of...singing, and showing thanks for me with an extra smile, or just going out of their way to say they love me an additional time...spoils my heart...and that's what is important.
My eleven year old came to me last night and said, "Mom, I didn't buy you anything for your birthday but I've got something for you that is just perfect!" Alright I say smiling, unsure what to expect. "I'll just set it on the computer table in the back room OK?" I assure him that's great and I'm sure I'll love it...he hugs me and sets off for bed. To be honest I forgot about it until I returned to the room to shut things off for the night and there on my table ...
Perhaps insignificant to some but to me a tiny little eraser heart spoke volumes...This gift that cost nothing...worth much. If I can look back and know that my children have understood the simple things in life ... that when measuring up... that they have placed their priorities in order... then I will have done my job!
I recently followed the blog of a woman I have come to respect very much. She travelled to Guatemala on a missions trip and witnessed the extreme of "need". I was moved to tears as I read daily the reality of what life there is...especially for the children. Meanwhile thoughts of ...sure there are things that would be nice to "have"...frivolous, unnecessary things that may make life more enjoyable in the moment...but only for a moment.
As I sat reading last night in the few minutes left of my birthday it dawned on me that I knew just what I wanted!
Meet Leidy...it's Spanish...short for Aleida and means "small winged one"...funny... she looks just like a little angel to me!! She is my ninth child...a child I sponsored through Compassion Canada.
Truly the very best birthday gift ever...the privilege of having a hand in providing the "needs" of a beautiful child who otherwise might go without.