My Birthday

The past week or so has been, as it is in the lives of the average person, packed with a variety of circumstances, obligations, and emotional responses. I’ve had a mixture of good news, terrible news, difficulties, and wonderful experiences, all bunched up together. I’ve had news of new births, news of death and abandonment, business at work (which is fun and rewarding), frustration with dealing with Virginia’s service for adult services for the disabled (which are almost non-existent), while going through the fun and difficulties of the mundane. Oh, and did I mention tech week? We are in the middle of tech for the amazing show, Tom Sawyer (opening night is tomorrow). While I must admit that it is LOADS of fun, I also recognize that it has been slightly nerve-wracking to direct a pit band for the first time while making sure that the entire musical/vocal show holds together.

And in the midst of it all, t’was my birthday. Truth is, my birthday has never been a big deal for me. This year, however, I’ve been dreading the thought of approaching 50. I just hate getting old (Lord, help me have a better outlook!). So turning 48 is a painful reminder that I’m almost there and aging is inevitable. While dealing with my heart’s attitude is a topic for another blog post, I do admit that this fear of mine has made this week slightly more tense than it should have been.

So yesterday marked the anniversary of my birth, and I am so thankful that what could have been a fearful, busy, stressful day, turned out to be a happy one. I’m thankful for the family and friends who pampered me and showered me with love and affection, probably not knowing the deep effect they were having on me. My family expressed their love in MY love language: my husband rented a monster cleaning machine and shampooed the carpet, my kids cleaned and blew leaves in the yard, and my mother made the most amazing arroz-con-pollo (cus she makes the best one in the world) for dinner. They did it deliberately and joyfully, for me, because they love me. My friends and students at work brought me cup cakes and fresh-baked cookies and Starbucks drinks and soup and scented candles and gave me hugs and sang embarrassing birthday songs, and my friends from near and far sent me over 500,000 messages (and yes, I answered every one. Boom.)

Today I feel gratitude for my age and the fact that these 48 years on earth have yielded a big, loving family; They have afforded me the time to build lasting friendships, all over the world; They have given me experience and know-how which allow me to enjoy a wonderful job, which surrounds me with wonderful people; They have grown me in the ability to appreciate little things and enjoy smaller moments.

Third and final day of tech week, here I go! The show is gonna rock. Besides the 5 lbs I am sure to gain from all the sugary goodness I received yesterday, this week will be a blast.

Oh, and one more birthday present to me: Today I logged in to discover I have 101 blog followers! Here’s to another year of blogging!!

It’s Your Breath in Our Lungs

I’m sitting at the table doing the mundane: Checking my email, filling out my calendar with upcoming events, wasting my last minutes of the day playing a few rounds of Scramble online, and then I hear them. My husband and one of my daughters singing downstairs. Juan is at the piano. Elise is harmonizing to his voice. They blend and make a beautiful sound together. They’re worshiping, going from one song to another and another.

And I listen to the words of one of the songs they’re singing, “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters. The chorus says

It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only.

And I remember a summer just like this one, exactly three years ago. Juan was hospitalized. A good portion of his lung had been removed because he had, what we later came to find out, a rare lung infection. But the removal of the lobe did not make him well. It made him sicker. He was deteriorating quickly, unable to breathe. Unbeknownst to us, there was another infection brewing, a post-surgical one. His heart was working overtime. He looked and felt as if he were dying. He would soon need to undergo a second, emergency surgery, but this time, in a very weak body. This was one of the scariest times in the life of our family.

I remember we celebrated Daniel’s birthday by his bedside in the hospital room. He was awake long enough for Daniel to blow the candles and eat a piece of cake. We took pictures and smiled, but we were terrified.

Then came the second surgery, the intubation, and the very long recovery process. How many weeks? Months? It felt like years in that hospital room. Ultimately, there was healing. He slowly walked out of the hospital sometime in October. We went home. My husband was alive.

I remember the first time he returned to church and sang. The box of tissues made a few rotations through the congregation that Sunday morning. It was glorious. 

Today I recall that trial and I am so thankful that my husband is sitting at the piano with his sweet daughter, and they are both singing It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only. 

Aug. 19th, Daniel’s 18th birthday

Kissing the birthday boy

Kissing the birthday boy

The birthday table

The birthday table

In ICU, right after the tube was removed after surgery #2.

In ICU, right after the tube was removed after surgery #2.

In ICU, celebrating life!

In ICU, celebrating life!