It was all the Extras.

It was my birthday on Saturday.

I turned 34.  Not a ‘milestone’ birthday, not a significant life-changing number, not a shift in decade, or even divisible by five.  But a birthday nonetheless, and September 7th still makes me feel special every year.  Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of childhood birthdays gone by, perhaps it’s the back-to-school rush, and perhaps it’s the changing of seasons, but whatever the reason, my birthday makes me appreciative.  Grateful.  Happy.

All that being said, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to my birthday this year.  Not that I was dreading it, but rather that I was apathetic- I was in a ho-hum, take-it-or-leave-it, just-another-Saturday mood.  Birthdays have changed for me over the years, as they do with age, and the most important birthdays in my life now happen on January 22nd and March 2nd.  Those are the days on which memories are made, self-esteem is cultivated, and confidence is boosted.  Those are the days that I vividly recall meeting the two blessings who came into my life and changed me forever. September 7th takes a backseat.

And so, when Saturday rolled around, the day’s plan included hot yoga, work, a family afternoon at the playground, and a date night with my husband.  I love all of these things, so my ‘special day’ was shaping up to be pretty good.  What I didn’t count on were the ‘extras’…..

  • The extra excitement of my four-year-old racing in to my bedroom and waking me with an unprompted ‘Happy Birthday’!
  • The extra help from my children’s hands tearing open my presents.
  • The extra phonecalls, voicemails, texts, emails, Tweets, and Facebook posts from friends and family.
  • The extra mail throughout the week, full of birthday cards from across Canada.
  • The extra hugs, gifts, and babysitting from my in-laws.
  • The extra-special friends who surprised me at our dinner out, orchestrated by my extra-thoughtful husband.
  • The extra work done by my wonderful friend and neighbour to make me a homemade, flour-less, to-die-for chocolate birthday cake.
  • The extra sleep I got on Sunday morning when my husband quietly took the kids downstairs for breakfast.

The extras made it special.  The extras made it not ‘just another birthday’, not ‘just 34’, not ‘just September 7th’.

It was all the extras.

I’m an extra-lucky girl.

September 7th, 1979.

September 7th, 1979.

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