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Birthdays Past

Meg Chaney

As we walked down the sidewalk, breathing in the sunshine, soaking up the array of flowers, listening to the chatter of my daughter beside me, my heart was filled with all the memories of past years, past birthdays. Precious moments.

My mother, crawling in bed with me, whispering happy birthday as I slowly woke up. Year after year. Now, I still anticipate her phone call to be the first birthday wish of my day. Because who would remember more than she? She who carried me and birthed me and raised me. 

At 9, hair ribbons in my ponytail, ecstatic over my first American Girl Doll.

At 16, when my mom surprised me with a slumber party with all my youth group friends. A counter filled with food, rented movies to be watched, giddy late night talks and silliness to be ensued. 

At 21, when my best friend and I shared the same birthday, and our friends sent us on a scavenger hunt around campus, decked out in old prom dresses, hunting through the woods, being serenaded by a guy on a bench, ending up blindfolded in a car, until we arrived a fancy Italian restaurant. A circle table filled with laughing, girls, giddy with life, independence, the joys of friendship.

At 26, a newlywed, spending my first birthday far, far away from home. Buying my first sewing machine, and a few herbs to plant outside our front door. Having a meal cooked by my husband, creating new traditions together. 

And now 32, enjoying a quiet birthday, still fully mommy, with all the responsibilities, but filled with joy. Joy, because I was blessed to experience that day, even if there was sibling bickering diapers, and dirty dishes to do. Blessed, because God has given me so much. So many joyful memories, and so many more to come. Blessed, because I can see His hand at each moment. Blessed for the loved ones who have passed through my life.

The memories, the ghosts of the past, have left their beautiful imprint on my life now. And so, for awhile, I let them stay, I let my mind dream of past birthdays, and I thanked the Lord for today. Because one day, these moments, will be a memory, and oh how I want to make the most of today.