The Birthday Girl

March 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Me, Transylvania | 25 Comments
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My birthday is this week.

Maybe it’s because I’m so very far away from my family. Or because Romania doesn’t have buttercream icing. But I’ve found myself doing a lot of self-reflection as I cross another year off the calendar. It’s like I’m sorting through my mental manila file folders (I love those!) and clearing out my collection of memories. Keep? Toss? Share?

And this question: What’s missing?

In my 34 years, I’ve birthed three children, 943 blog posts, and countless magazine articles.

I’ve sold Girl Scout cookies and magazine subscriptions. I wasn’t very good at either.

I’ve seen Yellowstone and the Parthenon and kangaroos hopping across a golf course.

I’ve stood in the middle of Dachau and been crushed by the infinite sorrow of that place.

I once walked down the Champs-Élysées alone on an August afternoon and felt my soul slip into place. Like all the pieces finally, finally fit.

I’ve ridden a roller coaster and slept in a tent. If I never did either of those things again, I’d be just fine with that. Seriously.

I’ve run a half-marathon. The whole damn thing. Every single hill.

I fell off my bike and broke my wrist when I was 9. I fell off a Vespa and broke my leg when I was 33.

I’ve cleaned puke off train tracks and My Little Ponies and stuffed ducks in the middle of the night.

I’ve avoided more conflicts than I can count, like the time I hid in the bushes outside the library to avoid telling this really sweet guy that I didn’t want to go out with him. (He’s not reading, I’m sure. But just in case, I’m so, so sorry.)

I’ve taken 8,000 pictures and used up probably that many glue sticks.

I’ve spent hours worrying. Hours and hours. About car crashes and cancer and, well, everything.

I’ve never made a diorama or gotten poison ivy.

I’ve looked my children straight in the eye and told them that, no, Mommy is not eating chocolate.

I made straight A’s my whole entire life. And now I think, who cares?

I can’t really cook or sew or grow things. But I floss my teeth every day, and I’m pretty sure that counts for something.

As I type this list, as I think my way through this birthday week, I wonder … Is this enough? What does “enough” even mean?

After the cake is gone and the wrapping paper is in shreds under my chair, what really matters? It it enough that I love my husband? That I love my kids? That I try every day to love myself?

Is that enough? Am I enough?

And how do I know?

Have you ever given yourself the gift of introspection? Did you find clarity? Peace of mind? Renewed sense of purpose? Or did you just want another piece of birthday cake?



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  1. You’ve NEVER had poison ivy?! Lucky, lucky girl.

    No buttercream icing? Sad, very sad. How on earth do the Romanians celebrate birthdays without it?!

    Have you ever read “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”? I love the idea that someday, we will see how the life we lived affected the lives of others in very significant ways. Your sense of adventure (despite not liking roller coasters), the love you have for your family, your sense of humor and your kindness affect more people than you know. And I doubt we will ever know if we are “enough” while we’re on this earth, but that shouldn’t keep up from trying.

    Have a blessed birthday, Stacia. Hopefully you will get a warm spring day, which will not be the same as birthday cake and buttercream icing, but will be better than snow and cold 🙂

  2. I’m pretty sure the love is what matters, though the adventures and experiences add up. And flossing really does count for something.

    Happy birthday!

  3. You HAVE been busy!

  4. Your words are such a wonderful gift for us!
    And yes, everything counts when you have Love,

  5. You are a inspiration, a joy and a fantastic writer, wonderful mother and wife and I bet your momma will bring some buttercream frosting with her for you!!!! smiles

  6. I think it is absolutely enough that you’re a a good person who loves her family and spreads joy and happiness to others (which you do, friend.)
    It’s those things that matter in the end.
    Happy Birthday Stacia! I hope it is a happy, special day!

  7. It all counts… for good. You forgot to mention all the people whose lives you’ve touched and enhanced and been a blessing to.

    Yes, you are enough.

  8. I think we have all been there done that in some sense. It’s not what you have done but what you are doing. That’s what Jesus cares about and what He made possible on the cross. Looking ahead for what’s next…

  9. When I watch someone paying 4 pennies for $50 in groceries… I am not frugal enough.

    When I drool over colorful projects on Pinterest… I am not creative enough.

    When I read about clever busy bags and toddler crafts… I am not fun enough.

    When I replace my empty roll of paper towels… I am not green enough.

    When I open yet another email request to promote someone’s new (brilliant!) ebook… I am not driven enough.

    When I fall into bed at the end of the day, praying frantically before sleep covers me… I am not holy enough.

    When I walk over yesterday’s crumbs on my dining room floor… I am not clean enough.

    When I stroll the gas bill to the co-op, one day late… I am not organized enough.

    When I open the store-bought package of tortillas for lunch… I am not real{food} enough.

    I am not enough.

    But I am redeemed, because

    He is enough.

  10. I think this time…with kids…is a special time, but it is a time, that sometimes causes us to forget ourselves and think more about making this time right for our kids. This is good and right, but I often wonder, is it enough. And I have more plans and more things that I would like to do…when the time is right.

  11. Happy birthday my sweet friend! I find that the older I get, the more I get introspective about life around my birthday too. And the more I do that, the more depressed I feel because it just doesn’t feel like I am where I should be.

    We all have this bucket list and we measure our success in many ways. Like how much of that bucket list we’ve accomplished or the $ in our bank account.

    But you know what? Sometimes I go about my evenings with two quietly sleeping children and as I’m folding laundry and doing the dishes with My Guy, I am overwhelmed by this feeling of immense gratitude. The everyday mundane centers me and makes me realize that this all here? It’s my life, and I absolutely love it.

    Like you said, it should count for something right?

  12. We seem to be on the same page this week…maybe it’s b/c I have a birthday coming up too? I hope yours is wonderful and I think you are way more than enough.

  13. Happy Birthday!!!!

  14. Happy birthday! Someone summed up everything for me recently…you are the best mother, wife, and person if you live your very best life. The kids will be OK, the hubby, too. Make sure you’re taking very good care of Stacia!

  15. Introspection. An interesting and dangerous thing. I’ve looked back on my life a time or two. Examined its nooks and crannies. Mostly, I’m happy with how I’ve lived but there are things that haunt me. I try to focus on the positive that I have brought to this world, although that’s not always easy. It sounds like you have brought a lot of positive to this world. You certainly bring plenty to mine through your words and your photos. Enjoy your special day. Happy birthday!

    FYI – buttercream frosting is surprisingly easy to make. Just saying. 🙂

    • But if I made it myself, I couldn’t pretend not to know what was in it anymore! =>

  16. Though your official birthday has come and gone, my sincere wish is that every single day, in small and large ways, your life will continue to whisper to your soul, “You are enough. You matter. You are loved.” Because you are.

  17. I read your words and I look at that gorgeous photo of your family and I think: it’s more than enough. But I know you are one to ask questions and I suspect that you wouldn’t be the wife, mother, friend, and writer you are if you didn’t – so I’m all for your ruminating and introspection.

    Happy birthday, Stacia! May you continue your streak of being poison ivy-free!

  18. I never feel like I am enough. I know it’s me though – not that it’s true. Happy birthday dear friend – and jeez 943 blog posts! Wow. I was happy to hit 100!

  19. i think it’s more than enough. and that you’re probably just getting started.

    happy birthday!

  20. Happy birthday! Pass the cake, life’s too short to worry about all that other stuff. LIve, and love.

  21. I hope you’re having a wonderful birthday week!

    Funny, I used to write a long, self reflective journal entry with each passing new year. I noticed recently that I’ve stopped doing it for a few years now. Your post is a nice reminder that it would be a good exercise to return to.

    In terms of questioning whether we’re good “enough,” I think it’s something we’re always conspicuous of in ourselves, but not in others. In other words, I doubt if anyone ever judges us with such strict measures. You sound like you’ve done so much already, as a mother, wife, daughter, writer and much more. And you’re still so young (I’m envious!) – so much left on the horizon to explore and accomplish. Have a wonderful year ahead!

  22. Happy Belated Birthday Stacia! Looking at the picture, I know it is enough. But even after saying that to you, I have my own doubts about whether I am enough too. I have seemingly accomplished so much on paper, but every so often I question, worry and doubt whether it is enough. Loved this post.

  23. May your birthday present to yourself be knowing that you are enough. (that’s what I’m giving myself next bday, anyway).

    You’re brave and strong and funny and inclusive and thoughtful and the best Mama for your 3 kids.


  24. You’re enough and MORE than enough. I feel so lucky to know you. And you floss every day? That is truly impressive. Hope your birthday was wonderful. All the best people are born in March … or so I hear.

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