It wasn’t a milestone birthday and my expectations had been pretty much non-existent. Aside from wishing some things could finally be repaired or upgraded around the house (I keep wishing for that every year), this day marking another trip around the sun was gearing up to be nothing special. Every time someone asked “What are you doing for your birthday?” I would say “Meh – I have no plans this year”. Maybe do some laundry. Walk the dog. A pint of ice-cream?
Contrary to the usual personal, self-celebratory week that I began doing years ago after finishing cancer treatment, my feelings this year were pretty low-key. I think the pandemic knocked a lot of energy out of many of us. It really doesn’t seem to matter much. Perspectives and relevance change. I pretty much feel glad to be here, grateful, and that really is enough.
Still, despite the lack of intention, the week began to fill up with some lovely surprises. Some texts, messages, phone calls, video calls, songs, cards and emails from those who remembered and those who I love. From children, grandchildren, siblings, family, friends and acquaintances. What was really wonderful about all these contacts is that they came in from people in different towns, states, countries and continents all over the world! That extended connection was really cool and felt very nice!
From not expecting, needing or really wanting much of anything, I found myself on the receiving end of some sweet, thoughtful, caring and personally targeted gifts; books about trees and birds, an earthy, sparkly stone bracelet, a nature graphic t-shirt, a lovely embroidered purse/backpack, sunflower socks, certificates for a massage and a facial, self-care accoutrements for headaches, sore muscles & smooth skin. My favorite green tea mints and dark chocolate. A mushroom growing kit! I am sure I am leaving some of it out here but will relive the pleasure of using and seeing these items attached to the particular person as I go through the days. I am very much oriented in that way, those visual connections to people.
I was really so surprised and touched by all of this. I felt awash in caring. I felt spoiled. I admit I even struggled a bit over whether I “deserve” that kind of attention, which is a whole other head-trip. But it kind of got me up off my un-birthday butt and stimulated enough to once again engage in some birthday-week annual rituals I have done for myself in the past as an exercise in self-care; plants from the garden center, a container of fresh raspberries, a couple of soft-shell crabs, an omelet of morels and ramps, some chocolate truffles. Foodie things. Going out to lunch and dinner with friends. But my intention in writing this post is not meant to come off sounding like a bratty brag. Not to sound cliché, but I am truly and deeply grateful of all the blessings.
Why I am even mentioning it is because a few days after the lovely rush died down, something else arrived in the mail from a sister that made me cry. This is actually what has prompted me to post about the non-birthday that became a birthday, because it is Noteworthy and Pertinent to this blog. This is the crown on top of the other jewels.
It is a large, thick book that she put together, of the very first year of this blog – my own personal copy (just for me!) of the first year of Daeja’s View, all of 2011, in print!
I cannot state enough how mind-blowing it is to actually hold all of that writing in my hands. I may be old-school, but there is still something so satisfying about holding an actual book as opposed to an electronic device. And it is a beautiful volume to look at and hold. Her original intention was to make a book of the entire blog, but who knew I was that prolific back then? One year alone made up a pretty massive volume and ended up being a very labor intensive project of love on her part. She stated I have enough material for future volumes! Although I have visions of the shelves of encyclopedias of my childhood (there’s a throwback, I guess they are obsolete now) filled with my writing, I admit I am looking forward to that.
I am so humbled and grateful to have all of these wonderful people touching my life.