i had a brief “moment” today while my niece celebrated her 3rd birthday with her family. it was a typical 3-year-old party with food, presents, princesses and wrapping paper everywhere. no hats this time, thank goodness. oh, and a candle (which she loved) on a birthday cookie.

there was a moment as we lit the candle and sang (albeit quite poorly) “happy birthday” that she was just looking around at all of us who were watching and singing to her. it was brief, but the moment was there. she was smiling and giggling and then all of a sudden she felt the need to nuzzle into her daddy. she knew. she knew she was loved, and it was a little bit too much. all those people, all those presents, all that awful singing with her at the center and you could see in her eyes the “wow.”

oh, the experience of being so loved that you feel you must hide.

sometimes birthdays seem silly. and i’m sure we’ll go to no less than 462 parties in the next 10 years. but for the chance to celebrate another year that God has given us the gift of knowing someone special, i’ll start appreciating the birthday party routine a whole lot more. for my kid – or for any kid – to know that they are loved because people chose to spend a saturday oohing and ahhing over princess bracelets and singing off key just to celebrate that “one more year” – it’s all worth it.

in some ways, celebrating a birthday is almost just as much for us as it is the birthday boy or girl, if we choose it. they may get the presents, but we get the joy of their presence for yet one more year.

(yeah, can you tell it’s october by the tone? only a few more days until november.)

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