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At Least I Get Cake

Randee Paraskevopoulos shares how focusing too much on the rites of passage can take her away from enjoying the now:

Birthdays can be a rite of passage. Thirteen when you become a teenager, 18 when you're legally an adult, 21 when you're "legal."

After that the birthdays that matter are the milestones, the ones that end in a "0" or maybe a "5." I teased my husband when he turned 25 when I told him he'd outgrown a box of candles. I had to buy two boxes to get enough candles to put them on his cake.

I guess that technically makes 25 a "rite of passage," an event or ceremony that marks a transition from one phase to another, or of leaving one group and entering another. (Yes, I looked it up.) 

I had a birthday earlier this month. It was non-rite-of-passage year. No zero or no five on the end. Not even one that moves me from the middle-of-the-decade to the late-decade years. It was fairly overlooked in my house.

The reason for the neglect is legit. My youngest daughter was born on my birthday, and since then we've "shared" the day. Which really just means we celebrate HER birthday. Yes, I spent my 40th at Chuck E Cheese. At least they gave me a birthday sticker.

I look on the bright side -- I always get a cake. It just might not have my name on it.

I realized recently that we are on a collision path of rites-of-passage birthdays. In a few years, my daughter will turn 16 the same day that I turn 50. She will be able to drive, and I'll be able to join AARP. 

Through some informal polling of friends, I've been trying to find out which birthday should be the bigger deal. Just saying that seems silly. Of course 16 is the more important milestone (and the fact that I couldn't get anyone to agree with me had nothing to do with my decision to bow out gracefully).

When you're young, you can't wait for your birthday. It takes forever from one until you get to the next one. Now that I'm older, I'm not so anxious for the days, the months, the years to slip by.

It's all a matter of perspective, because God's time is the same whether we're 7 or 70. There's going to be 365 days between one birthday and the next. 8760 hours. A little over half a million minutes. Don't waste them.

That's the lesson I'm trying to learn with this birthday. To live in the moment, to savor the time I have with my girls before they grow up, go through their own rites of passage and leave me. (sad face)

If you see me fretting about the future and what's coming next, I won't mind the reminder to enjoy the now.

P.S. My oldest hits the infamous 16 this summer, and I'm trying to teach her to drive. Pray for us (and everyone else on the road!)

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