I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- expectations and attachment to the way things should be is a surefire start to a drop into the boo hoo blues.
I can’t tell you how many times a day I sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to myself.
Bless the Rolling Stones forever for that sanity reminder. But when DO you try and what does it look like to get what you need?
Friends, lovers, family this year have had their moments with me where they’ve wondered – where did Ella go?
We’ve all been somewhere we’ve not wanted to be out of sheer duty or obligation, right? Well, if in the first ten minutes of arriving that doesn’t change ’tis a sign that something does need to do just that. So I do my best to honor what feels right (not always comfortable) and check with what is ultimately in alignment with who I want to be. Sometimes I miss the mark, sometimes I disappoint folks by not being available but I do my best.
Case in point, sometimes what you want doesn’t happen when and how you want it to and this is actually a GOOD thing.
That brings us back to time being on our side and yet another favorite Rolling Stone’s song but I digress…
Sometimes what you need is birthday cake three months late.
As most of you may know, my family has been really going through it this year keeping their hopes up that the FDA will grant access to my stepmother so she has a chance at life. Well, the week my dad and step-mom moved to Palm Desert and her brain tumor symptoms became aggressive and severe was also my birthday time. With all the shifts and concern, they forgot my birthday which was totally understandable and I canceled dinner and outing plans with friends to help my family at a crucial decision making time (to radiate or not to radiate, never a fun question).
I never said anything because my birthday at that point really wasn’t important. In my mind, I’ve had a lot of celebrations over the years and what was more important was to be with them, take care of them and treat myself that way. In my past, I’d always looked forward to birthdays so I could have a little extra cash and stay out of the red or get a new something. Well, instead of needing a check or new iPhone, what I really needed was snuggles with my family which I got in spades.
It was a great feeling to not need and to really let go, putting what really mattered first and get over my Sixteen Candles self that I’d been in the past. I was in a place in my life that I could afford to treat them to every meal and take one less worry off their list.
Last week I went to see my parents for a little post-Thanksgiving family time and my stepmother had requested I stay out of the kitchen. Her new “thing” is cooking since she’s now “retired”, has dietary restrictions to offset the tumor growth and the kitchen is small enough for her to weeble wobble out of without too much strain. She asked me to patiently wait at the table for her to present her culinary efforts after a long day.
“It may take me awhile to set it up as I’m moving slow but don’t you open your eyes and ruin the surprise!”
When I was granted permission to take a peek at the table, I found a cake before me along with a whole bunch of birthday paraphernalia.
“Happy Birthday, oops we forgot” was sung and we cut into Liza’s first-ever homemade birthday cake.
“We can’t believe we forgot you birthday and you never said a word. I’ve been celebrating you for half your life and I didn’t want to miss out this year.”
It was a strange experience to have a wave of joy and sorrow all at once. I kept saying “I didn’t need you to remember, I don’t need anything.” And they just kept bringing out more stuff the more I said not to. I’ve definitely said “no thank you” due to good manners but to fully receive at a time least expected was overwhelming. It made me realize how much pressure we put on making certain days special when in fact, it’s the thought that counts and letting go of how or when we’re inspired to do things for each other, makes the gift ever sweeter.
So here’s to birthday cake at Christmas time and getting what we really need.
May your deepest wishes be granted by unexpected and timely deliveries.
Timing isn’t always appearing to be on our side but it will find a way to give us what we need when we most need it.
Love and birthday candle light,