Now, anyone who knows me, knows I am not the kind of person who waits around for people to ask me what I'm doing for my birthday or make a plan. I'm usually like, "Hey! Um, my birthday is coming and here's what I want to do!" And I also have a hard time with friends who want to keep their birthdays "low-key" or "simple," probably because I am neither low-key or simple and I look for all the reasons in everyday life to party. It's who I am and I don't apologize for it.
And I did. I so did. I sent out real invitations - the paper kind that you write on and require postage stamps. I promised myself I wasn't going to choose a theme, because once I choose a theme, I can get a little carried away. But then I was at Walmart and passed by all of the fun fiesta things and I realized how much I love chips and salsa and margaritas, and a birthday fiesta seemed to be quite fitting.
(Also, if you don't know why our local Walmarts carry a surplus of fiesta related things this time of year, than you are probably not from San Antonio. The whole city has a week-long party in April to salute the heroes of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. What it feels like though, is celebrating our Latin-American culture by cracking confetti eggs on each other's head and eating all the delicious Mexican food in the land. Also, others may drink a few too many margaritas, but I digress.)
A fiesta felt like the perfect choice. I had much to celebrate, including being alive and being much healthier than I was this time last year. Fiesta's bright and vibrant colors suited my current season and so I put up decorations, just for me.
I invited my dearest friends and family. We wore tiny sombreros and ate chips and queso and we played hilarious games. Pie in the face showdown is epic. And very messy. It's a new family favorite.
A week later, I woke up and I was 36. My kitchen contained remnants of crushed tortilla chips on the floor, sticky counters from dripped margarita mix, and plastic yellow cups some tipped over on their side. All of it made me smile.
There are days that I get up and look in the mirror and remember that I am a woman now. And maybe that's an odd thing to say, but I feel like I've spent so many years figuring out what it even means to be a woman. There are days when I still feel 11 or 16 or 22 and perhaps that's how life goes. The older we get, we are just made up of all of the ages we've ever been. There is still a little girl inside of me that loves play and magic and dress up. A teenager that lived so quiet and depressed that wants to live life now like she would have then if she had been happy and confident. And the young adult who still desires to live life or make choices that aren't the best ones, but feel like the fun ones.
Someone told me the other day that I sparkle. I let her compliment hit me and allowed myself accept her words that felt redeeming and glorious. There were so many years and seasons before where that wouldn't have been or felt true of me.
I'll be married eleven years this June. I have two boys, a mortgage and a full-time job. I'm a Star Wars nerd and geek out over Marvel superheroes and I love action movies and Bruno Mars' music. I enjoy folding laundry and sitting in the sunshine and being by the ocean is my ultimate happy place. I love chocolate-chocolate cupcakes and reading good books and drinking bold coffee with cream. I am outgoing, naturally loud and am never one to shy away from the spotlight. And I believe that it is only by God's grace and love that I am who I am and where I am today. I'd be lost without Jesus.
Also, I believe in party hats.
I am 36. I'm grateful, happy. And sparkling.