Today, I celebrate my 35th birthday.

There are at least two things I can guarantee about today.

First, I will get at least one phone call with singing from distant family. After their serenade, we’ll all laugh, they’ll ask how I am, and we’ll hang up.

Second, my daughters are going to enjoy this afternoon. They have been plotting and planning. They are up to something, and my seven-year-old especially doesn’t miss a chance to drop a hint or wink at her father across the room.

I am 35, an age I have never really thought about. Turning 30 was enough of an adventure for the rest of my life, thanks.

I’m not a big celebrator of my own birthday. I’m just not. I don’t know why.

But recently, a friend who has a talent for making me think pointed out something to me, “It’s really not about you.”

And you know, she has a point.

It’s not about me. It might be MY birthday, but isn’t this day more about other people’s celebration of my life? My parents, my husband, my children, and my friends all get a chance to thank God for the scourge pain presence I am in their lives.

Motherhood has stretched me and challenged me more than anything else in life. If I had to put my finger on one thing it’s taught me, it’s that phrase my friend uses to bring me to my senses. It’s not about me.

So today, as I bumble through a Tuesday that will be less typical than last week, I’m going to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for each of the little hurdles and reality checks that are sure to come my way. I’m going to do my best to be grateful for the gift that another year is to me.

And I’m going to eat some chocolate. (Hey, it IS my birthday!)

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