Belly Button Birthday
Today is my Belly Button Birthday. I like to say that since I also have a Sobriety Date, I get two birthdays each year, yet somehow grow younger along the way. Overall, I do feel younger than ever, out of sync with my actual number. When I ask for the senior rate, I always expect a stern look of disdain, disbelief, and a demand to produce my ID. Instead it’s, “That’ll be $8.50.”
Regardless, I’m glad to have made it around the sun once again, and fully anticipate many more, one day at a time.
Birthdays in my family growing up were not celebrated in any great ways. We’d get a present but no special treatment, no special dinner, certainly no party, and mostly no cakes, if memory serves. My sister and I validated this years ago, so once we had our own kids, we especially love to celebrate in the rightful manner.
I don’t mean this in a “woe is me” way. It never bothered me at the time. I don’t recall ever yearning for more. That was just how we did it. We were overtly and covertly discouraged from calling attention to ourselves. I’m pretty sure this was due to the possibility of being overrun by our dysfunctional family dynamic, which was always ready to blow up. Maybe we just hunkered down when the going got rough and rode it out until the binge cycle was over and we could go back to our alternate routine of waiting for the next one to hit. And if a birthday fell in the cycle, it was taken in stride, handled, and done. I learned to dread and avoid being the center of any kind of commotion, positive or negative.
In my mid twenties, I experienced my first foray into “recovery” via ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). The facilitator asked, “What is the focus of the family in a ‘normal’ household?” I was stumped; no clue. When I learned the answer was “the children,” I was shocked. Really?!? In households like mine, the focus was the alcoholic who set the tone in that dysfunctional system.
This makes sense as I peel the onion and find a residual paradigm that says, “Don’t make waves. Shhhh. Sit down.” This rears up and gets in the way when I’m faced with the task of promoting something I’m proud of.
But on this day today, I celebrate the amazing life I have, my checkered past, the powerful present, and a special eye on the future. I treasure and acknowledge all the amazing people in it now, up until now, and to come.
Birthdays are helpful to mark a chunk of time passing, but any day can be made special. Whether it’s an AA birthday, a BB one, or just a brand new baby day, it is always the perfect time to start anew.
The most spectacular birthday gift isn’t the one that is bestowed anyway. It’s the one that lies inside of me ready to be opened.
What gift is inside of you ready to be birthed and celebrated?
In gratitude, harmony, and support,