I can close my eyes and go back to birthday parties from my youth.  The picnic table, now held together with baling twine and layers and layers of garage sale paint, was new then, able to hold so many of us.  Birthday cake, with little treasures of coins wrapped in tin foil, was the highlight of the festivities, along with getting the "birthday bumps".

It was a great time to have a birthday.  Spring had given way to summer, school was winding down,  and it was right in the middle of Christmas past and Christmas future.  I always felt bad for those kids who had birthdays in December or January; they would have to go through the whole year without presents.

Birthdays are something different now.  The number keeps getting larger.  Next year will be a big one as I will turn 50 and Heather blossoms into 40.  We've talked about doing something extra special, like a major family trip to Europe or something of that ilk.  It will also be Dylan's final year of high School and Ben's first year out of elementary.  Lots to celebrate.

Do I feel 49?  Not at all, though I'm not sure what a particular age is supposed to feel like.  I wake up each morning bright and chipper, often starting well before 6 am - another sign of age I guess.  And despite having gained a pound or two during the evacuation, I'm still feeling light in my body with bounce in my step.

I feel grateful today.  We have made it through one of the most remarkable and traumatic experiences of our lives.  Our family is together and our home is in great shape.  We are able to return to our normal routines, though everything seems different now.  It feels like the tectonic plates of our lives have permanently shifted, falling into better alignment in some strange, convoluted way.  The energy has changed.

Our understanding of each other has deepened.  Our appreciation for our home, neighbourhood, community, province and country has grown.  And our perspective on life has sharpened.

I will celebrate my birthday by spending quality time in the studio, going for a nice leisurely walk with my love, breathing the beautiful fresh air and listening to the birds.  Instead of birthday cake I might have a colourful birthday salad.  I decided that I would make the first day of my 49th year by going back on my Ideal Protein program for a few days.


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