Sunday, December 5, 2010

For You, Dear Reader

It’s your birthday. You’re turning three. You sit on the couch in the living room as your family and friends light the candles on your cake in the kitchen. You swing your feet, twiddle your thumbs, anything to pretend you aren’t soOO excited for the best part of your birthday to begin. You see the glow from the candles before they make it around the corner. And then…

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear (your name here),
Happy Birthday to you!

Your birthday cake sits on the coffee table in front of you. Everyone you love most in the world stands around you in a circle celebrating you—your birth, your beauty, your unique and wonderful you. They stop for a minute, this very minute, to see you, love you, admire all that is you. They see the flames sparkling in your bright young eyes, reflecting not just your four candles (always one to grow on!) but the joy bubbling up from your heart of hearts. This feels like magic, you think to yourself. And it is. I tell you, it is.

Maybe that’s why when I was three all I wanted for Christmas was a birthday cake. Mom tried to tempt me with a doll, or a new puzzle, even a rocking horse. Nope, nope, nope. All I wanted was a big frosted birthday cake. I can’t remember all these 37 years later what was going through my mind back then. Did I ask for a certain flavor? Mom doesn’t think so. Was I sweet deprived? I doubt it. So what then? Why a birthday cake?

Maybe I wanted to be loved in an intense way, admired, seen, celebrated for who I was. Maybe my brother’s birth, or my father’s new job, or our new house distracted the family. Maybe we all got busy trying to handle the stress of life and we stopped focusing on love. Maybe the three year old girl living in the crumbling farmhouse wanted to bring Christmas back to what really mattered. Maybe she was too young to make a cake for everyone in her family, but not too young to know a feeling and to ask for it for herself. Maybe?

So as I begin to feel the magic of Christmas this year, I remember the birthday cake that sat under the tree for me when I was three. I remember and am reminded that we all secretly (or not so secretly) ache for a love that makes us feel seen, cherished and celebrated. No matter if we are three or 93, its one of those feelings that never loses its magic. So here, dear Reader, a birthday cake with your name on it. From me, to you, with love. You are unique. You are cherished. You are beautiful. I know it right down to my core. Merry Christmas.

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