The Best Gift Ever

I don’t know if I ever told CBG that when I was younger, I used to cry on my birthday every single year. It began the year I turned 12. I cried for a lot of different reasons, but mostly for two reasons: I was afraid of getting older and I because I was waiting for someone — anyone — to make me feel loved when  I didn’t really love myself all that much.

The crying continued until I was in my mid-twenties. And even though I stopped crying every year, there was always something missing. A feeling. Mainly, a deep desire to be shown love in a certain way that I just couldn’t seem to articulate.

This turned around my first birthday as a single mom. I remember it clearly. CBG and I were on the verge of getting back together after our two and half month break-up, but admittedly I was still cautious and uncertain. I spent my birthday with my family and my girls. I spent my birthday being utterly grateful for all of the good things that I had in my life. On my own. It was the first year that I can say, honestly, I loved myself. I didn’t need a man to complete me. The only thing I needed was my girls and myself.

In the years that have followed, I have since made an effort to ensure that my birthdays were happy days; an opportunity to count my blessings and enjoy the people and the world around me.

CBG was here for the weekend and we made Saturday the official celebration of my birthday. I woke up at 3:30 on Saturday morning, excited to start the day (and get my present!!). At 4:30 I woke CBG because I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. He sat me down and gave me my gift. He’d spent an entire week slaving away on a scrapbook. A scrapbook filled with photos of all of our adventures together over the past three and a half years.

Truly the best birthday gift that anyone has ever given to me. The time, effort, and creativity it took was impressive. The memories he captured made me smile and laugh — and most of all, made me realize what truly wonderful life we’ve had together in the last three years. Even without a lot of money, and with only spending on average 4 or 5 days per month together, we have created so many amazing memories. We have gone on so many adventures. We have done so many things. We have turned everyday outings into special occasions worth remembering.

As I looked through the scrapbook, the tears came. I cried on my birthday for the first time in several years. Tears of happiness, gratitude, joy and love.

Happiness. The thing that I spent so long searching for, that seemed to elude me for so long.  Sure, being with CBG makes me happy. But more importantly than that, I have learned to allow myself to be happy. Our relationship has taught me that there are always ways to be happy, no matter what obstacles or challenges life throws in our way. It has also taught me the difference between on-the-surface “happy”, and deep-down-to-your-very-core, capital-H-“Happy”.

I am happy. And if that’s not the best gift to have on one’s thirty-eighth birthday, I don’t know what is.

6 Responses

  1. This brought tears to my eyes. Happiness is just about the best feeling ever, isn’t it? And to have CBG in your life (and vice versa) and the happiness you share, it’s just beautiful. XOXO

  2. As I was reading this, I was thinking… “But this year you allowed yourself to FEEL love… the love that was always there!”

    And sure enough, you knew that already. 🙂

    Love this!

    ((birthday hugs))

  3. Beautiful! Thank you for your candor and willingness to open up. I’m confident someone, somewhere, just read this and said “I want REAL happiness and it begins with me!” thank you and Happy Birthday!

  4. Oh I just love this. I love that you’re finally allowing yourself to feel happy and to just relish in the love that you and CBG share. EMBRACE this time my friend.

  5. Been there, done that. And I totally agree that happiness is such an elusive thing when we search for it “outside” ourselves.

    Happy Birthday Dear!

  6. I did the same in the past. I’m glad you can now take the time for you and enjoy it! happy birthday!

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