I just love birthdays! And not just mine, I love to celebrate that one special day that we all have, that is our own. To celebrate the birth of a wonderful friend or family member, to see the joy on their face when opening presents, to cook or be cooked for, to be around those you love and hold close to your heart. It is pure joy.
Last week was my son's 10th birthday and we all gathered round, with a cornucopia of sweets, popcorn, chocolate cake and games. The kids laughed and whooped with joy running from one game to the next, stuffing as much food in their mouth as possible whilst drinking lemonade and running in the 3 legged race. It was a cool day but it didn't stop ten 10 year olds from starting a large scale water fight - they all went home soaked. Job done.
Today is my birthday and a little more sedate, though we did get wet wandering around Auckland's waterfront in a fine Spring mist. My friend's kids jumped in every puddle they could find, not fussed by the extra water. A surprise lunch at 'Soul' at Auckland's viaduct waterfront area started with bottles of wine and major decisions about what to eat! The menu was a delightful array of starters, and entrees, so difficult to choose. As the plates and platters arrived, a silence settled itself comfortably over our table. We ate, we offered tastings to each other, we shared the most basic of things. Food. I watched faces light up and heard the barely audible gasps of delight. We nourished ourselves and each other. They sang me happy birthday for maybe the fourth time, we clinked glasses, we smiled. Nothing else mattered at that moment of happiness, pure and simple. And as for me, my heart sang and my eyes glistened with the humble pride of being loved. I know that love is a luxury for some, I know that love can be brutal and unkind sometimes. So, I take love seriously. I am humbled completely by it and continually surprised by the generosity and love in all of us.