The Day of My Birth

This marks my 5th birthday since I have moved to New York. I had more amazing birthdays growing up than I can count (actually, it'd probably be the same number as my age!) But since I've been so far away, birthdays have taken a different tenor. Maybe it's growing older. Maybe it's the distance from my parents and siblings. Yet despite how much I downplay the day, there is always something so wonderful about feeling celebrated by family and friends. As a child, my parents, especially my mother, were really big about birthdays. It was our day and no one else's.
I look back on the last 5 birthdays, and each of them still were incredibly special in their own way...
In 2007, I'd just moved a month before, so everything was still new and exciting. My mother shipped me a Blue Chip Cookie Cake (I've had one every year since I was 10.) And my dad ordered flowers. They gave us money for some of my friends and I to go out to dinner and celebrate. We ate Mexican food downtown, and it felt like home.
In 2008, I came home after work, and Justin had decorated my apartment. He'd been over during the day and hung streamers, blew up balloons and made me signs. I still get all smiley and mushy imagining him coloring the sign or taping up streamers. It was the sweetest, most precious thing he could have done to make me feel special. My friend Maggie was in town from LA, and several of our other friends came over for a mini-surprise party. We had Buttercup Bakeshop cupcakes, a chocolate fountain, and, of course, cookie cake!
In 2009, my birthday was also my last day of work at Reader's Digest. They'd canceled my department, so all of us were out of a job. Our team had lunch that day as a final goodbye, and we reminisced over the two years we'd spent on the project together. As I was getting close to leaving that day, the receptionist called to tell me I had a delivery. Expecting flowers, I happily walked to her desk only to see MY DAD! He'd flown in for 24-hours. Instead of sending a gift, my family sent him, which was better than any present. I needed a boost and a reminder that all would be well, that I was loved and valued and cared for. We went out to dinner at Roberto Passon, my now-closed favorite restaurant and it was unbelievably good to spend the time with him. Then, the next weekend Justin and I went to Tavern on the Green, another now-closed NY eatery, and we had a party at my apartment. That year, I woke up believing it would be a bittersweet day, and instead it turned out to be one of my most memorable birthdays, ever.
Oh, also, 2009 was the year Justin made me a travel scrapbook of adventures we've had, and others we would someday have together—he promised an Australian vacation so I'm holding out!
And finally, in 2010, Justin and I were apart. I was working in New York, and Justin was doing a show in Connecticut. Although I'd prepped myself to spend the day alone, he suggested we meet midway for dinner and then to stay at his parents'. He surprised me with a bunch of our friends from the area, all gathered at the Mexican restaurant for a birthday dinner. (I know, there is a theme in many of my favorite foods—Mexican or Italian!) That weekend, we had our own getaway at a B&B near the theater.
This year, we are in Italy. As I write this the week before, I am hoping that as you read this, I'm exploring the countryside, driving safely in our SmartCar, and having a wonderful, romantic time.

But as I remember all these birthdays, I can't help but feel incredibly humbled and abundantly blessed. I have such a generous, thoughtful, amazing family and husband. I love y'all! And everybody else, talk to you when we get back!

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