God gives us one day each year to mark our progress. Michali just celebrated her first birthday - it's amazing what she's accomplished - she's learned to smile, to roll over, to sit, to crawl, to walk, even to begin to talk. She actually even has begun to learn sign language. That's all in one year.
For the rest of us, the change from year to year is so much less pronounced. Our hair grows a bit grayer, our eyesight gets a bit worse...no wait, that's too far down the road...so let's back up...
Last night, Amira's husband Haim scheduled a surprise birthday party for her - he bought the most amazing cake. His brother and sisters came to decorate the apartment with balloons and we got there early enough that Aliza could help too. Amira walked in after a successful shopping spree with her mother-in-law and was very happy and surprised.
So, today's blessing is the concept of a birthday, of celebrating the moment you came to this world, bringing joy to everyone else...and so, in the years that follow, all those who feel that love, look for ways to return the appreciation and love right back. It is a uniquely human thing - remembering the day, even the hour and the moment we are born. We spend our lives measuring the years...all starting from that day.
Beyond the balloons and the cake - is the laughter, the song, and the love that go along with it. For many years, we had two birthdays in September - Amira and Lazer - last year, Michal joined us in September as well - a triple-blessed month.
We celebrate at least the Hebrew birthdays and sometimes the English - this year, we seem to be celebrating both - in a few days, we'll celebrate Amira's Hebrew birthday, and then Michal's - and the cycle of birthdays will begin again.
Because it only comes once a year, the concept of a birthday celebration is one blessing we sometimes overlook and that's a shame. Birth is an incredible experience for the parents...even if it is the child that forever celebrates the day.
I often teased my kids that they should be wishing me a happy birthday since it was on this day that I gave birth - some years, I even got them to do it!
If you have a birthday - stop and think of what the year has given you - what blessings you have received, what miracles you have witnessed. My birthday doesn't come for another few months but already I know that this past year will be a year I am unlikely to forget - just over a year ago, I had my operation - months of physical therapy have returned me to almost the same mobility I had before I fell. This year, I was in a terrible car accident - the car was totaled, and I walked away with such gratitude.
This year, I was granted a beautiful granddaughter - and a chance to watch my grandson grow out of his baby years and into this amazingly bright little boy. Oh, it hasn't been all good - war on the national front and war on the personal front have left their mark and a deep sadness inside that I fight all the time but I'm grateful for the concept of a marker each year.
A birthday ago...where were you? Where are you now? Where are you going? Without a birthday, how would you remember the milestones that come with age?
I met my future husband at 17; our first date was on my 18th birthday. We married when I was 22...and on it goes - a lifetime measured each year by the simplest of days - the first we each spend on this earth.
Happy birthday little Michali; happy birthday my beautiful Amira.
And thank you God - for birthdays...today's blessing.