Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Raphaela plays "birthday party" every day. If she is wearing casual clothing, she changes into a Shabbat dress and chooses a crown from her collection.  She sets the table with a table cloth and a pretend cake, and organizes toys and books and cards with birthday blessings.  We sing songs to the honoree, sometimes her imaginary friends like Bob the Builder and his "friend" Wendy, the vowels of the ABC or her stuffed dolls, sometimes to Raphaela herself.

My daughter has taught me that every day is a reason to celebrate and to recognize in joy who we are, to remember that we all deserve to be surrounded by people who love us and enjoy our company.

Today, for my birthday, Raphaela gave me one of her crowns and asked me to wear it all day, even while she spent the day in Gan.  I was more than happy to comply and not at all embarrassed to be a grown adult walking around the street in public (the post office, the shopping mall, the bank) with a wreath of flowers on my head.

In fact, rather than get funny looks, the random population of Jerusalem embraced my special day:  When I walked into the bakery on Palmach, the staff and seated patrons burst out in song.
At the makeup counter, an older Israeli woman (a complete stranger) played with the curls on my hair, declared me a Leo and wished me health and success.
In the supermarket, the computer printed out a special birthday wish at the bottom of my receipt.
When I collected Raphaela from Gan, her teachers organized an impromptu dance of celebration.

I had hoped to get away for my birthday, but taking advantage of the fact that Raphaela has a full day of quality child care until August, I chose to wait until her actual Summer vacation for us to have an adventure together.  Instead I took a day off from work and ignored patient calls.  I spent the morning eating a leisurely breakfast and doing some creative writing. 

While my afternoon errands were fairly commonplace, I did not feel rushed in any way and the cashier at the supermarket, an Ethiopian woman whom I have known for many years, remarked that I had a relaxed glow to my face.  The nine hours that Raphaela spent at Gan belonged to me, without any responsibility or timetable, and it felt wonderful.

I need to do this more often.

1 comment:

Midlife Singlemum said...

Definitely do it more often. Happy Birthday xxx