Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

I recently celebrated my birthday. I didn’t exactly know what to expect. It’s a sign of the times. During this pandemic no one knows what to expect on a regular basis. I was afraid loneliness would threaten to overtake my usually positive attitude. 

Even though we live in isolation, we aren’t necessarily living alone.

Phone calls and Facebook messages dominated my morning. With a bit of prompting, my mother told me my birth story. I knew most of it, but there were a few details I don’t recall hearing before. It was a fun conversation. 

This year, one detail struck me as particularly interesting. I was born at 6:55 pm. I decided that gave me most of the day to finish out one year and move onto the next. Technically, I wouldn’t be another year older until nearly 7:00 that evening. 

It was like a gift! Not the only gift I would receive as it turned out. And not the best, by far.

My Granddaughter's Favorite Books
Around six in the evening, members of my family started arriving at my house. Everyone brought a lawn chair. Friends I know and worked with in Kosovo arrived as well. We sat outside around the area I hoped would one day be a fire pit. I have a portable one, but it was too warm and too windy to think about a fire. We talked and played games. Mostly though, we watched my 15-year-old grandson work at clearing the wooded root of honeysuckle from the area where I wanted to one day have a stone fire pit. 

Spencer was tenacious. He dug out what he could, chopped out roots with an axe, pulled, tugged, and hauled away the horrible weed. His was a gift of sacrifice. 

My Birthday Bouquet!
I had another gift of sacrifice that evening. Unable to shop for a gift, my nine-year-old granddaughter culled through her favorite books. “Has she read this one?” she’d ask her mother. “How about this one?” Ultimately, Nora chose three of her favorite books to give to me for my birthday: The Summer of the Swans, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Little House in the Big Woods. By the way, I often refer to my own house as the little house in the big woods. More about that HERE.

My friends, the Halversons, brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I received a notebook from my youngest granddaughter (most appropriate for a writer), a family picture from our Disney cruise arrived in the mail from my daughter in Wisconsin. My oldest grandson drove out of the way on his way to work to wish me a happy birthday.

The gift of sacrifice..and time
Later in the evening after I was officially a year older, my daughters, mother, and I got online and Face Time to play a game. The next day, my son-in-law and grandson showed up at my house to build an honest to goodness fire pit in the newly cleared area.

So what was my favorite and best birthday gift? It was the one everyone gave me: the gift of TIME. A moment to type a message or make a call; a few hours to pull up a chair and laugh together; time sorting through books to give me “favorites;” time to play a game in the evening; time to build a fire pit. 

One of our most precious commodities is time. And people I love gave me some of theirs. What a perfect birthday.


  1. Wow, you are a blessed woman. Wonderful family and friends that love you. thanks for sharing your story of hope... Take care

    1. thank you for stopping by! I do realize I am blessed. I don't take it for granted.


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