Updated: Nov 13, 2020
If there's one thing I absolutely love about life, it’s celebrating my birthday! I believe each new year of life is a blessing; an opportunity to start writing a new chapter.
To me, a birthday is a brand-new chance to look back and determine if I need to seek a new path or if I should keep on in the same direction. It is also a reminder that time is moving. Fast! That's why I am so thankful to God for every single new possibility He presents me; to live, to learn, and to relish another day to celebrate, including my recent 37th birthday.
Each sunrise is priceless. I am grateful just for being alive; for being able to breathe. This past week, for example, before going to sleep I said grace with my daughter, as usual. This time, though, I mentioned I would like to pray for another mother.
“But why do we need to pray for her?”
“Because she is having to go through a lot of surgeries and procedures. I just want to ask God to take good care of her.”
“Oh! She is having a lot of procedures?! That’s a good thing!”
“Is it? How so?”
“Well, the more procedures and surgeries she does, the more used to it she gets!”
“Hmmm.” I was unsure of what to say, and at the same time, trying very hard not to giggle. Meanwhile my eyes filled up with tears.
“What are you laughing about?”
“Nothing . . . That’s a very interesting point of view. I just hadn’t thought about it that way before,” I said as I snuggled with her.
I found myself lying in bed with her, my heart full of love for this little girl. I couldn’t possibly imagine being in this other mom’s shoes! My chest felt tight for her, but on the other hand, my daughter’s positive mindset warmed my soul.
That same night, while saddened to think how much this lady had been through and yet overcame every single obstacle placed ahead of her, I felt peace in my heart knowing that I do not have to worry about waking up every morning thinking of how many bullets I will have to dodge. Instead, God has giving me the chance to arise and enjoy; to take advantage of what life has to offer me, at least for now; one thing no one is certain of is what tomorrow will bring. Right there is another great reason to celebrate my birthday! Any birthday!
As I watched this beautiful mother of two graciously share her story of how she had been given six months to live, yet she beat cancer, I saw life still had not been gentle with her. Nevertheless, God miraculously granted her a chance to live and I have no doubt despite of all the hard times she has been through that she is still thankful to be here. Looking at her speaking and smiling, and observing her gestures and mannerisms, you would never know what she’d been through. More than witnessing how strong she is, I was able to see how much she learned from her experience, as a person, as a woman, a wife, a mother, and as a believer. “Pressed but not crushed” is how she accurately defined herself.
Every so often, we hear stories about older ones lying on their deathbeds sharing their thoughts about the things they regret most in life, but even worse, what they never realized was something worth trying. Not until it was too late. Sometimes, I am told me I am very mature for my age; I like to respond that life has taught me so many lessons. I have learned a lot from past pains.
Nonetheless, I also found out that wise individuals are able to acquire knowledge by being attentive to others, their choices, mistakes, and some of their experiences: (https://kleinnanda.wixsite.com/thenandakleinjournal/post/good-problems-come-with-solutions). Thankfully, because of that, I don’t have to wait until something catastrophic happens to understand how important it is to live life appreciate the present.
Overall, my main goal in life is to be happy. To me, happiness is a variable state of mind. In my case, with the exception of joyful circumstances, it’s mostly based on the time and energy I spend on what I do and with whom; part of that happiness comes from doing what I enjoy—spending quality time with the people I love and with friends who are dear to me.
Very early in life, I learned that friends are more than people to hang around with, but in many cases, they are earthly angels from God. And that is one of the reasons I delight in celebrating my birthdays with them: it’s more than a celebration of my life, it’s an opportunity to celebrate who I have in life and what each and every one of them represents to me. After all, they are a big part of what life is all about.
This last celebration will be remembered as a fun one, just like any other I had in the last few years since moving to Miami, but with a "however." This time, a piece of my heart was saddened. Perhaps due to so many unforeseen events that took place during the previous week, my birthday dinner didn't feel complete since I was missing some of my peeps. Despite that, the ones who made it were sure to give me plenty of reasons to smile, laugh and to cry.
There are the friends who are always there for me . . .
The kind who makes running easier. That friend, who more than a running mate, is a friend I can open up to and someone who listens to whatever I have to say! There were the friends who have never missed my birthdays since I moved to Miami.
On the other hand, there was the diva friend who always steals the attention! But I always end up hating myself simply because I can’t help but to love him too, including his hair that takes zero time to look better than mine even after I spent an hour plus $80 at the hair salon—which is totally OK because there's nothing worse than putting those two kinds of friends mentioned above together and watch them hug ferociously at my birthday celebration as they did on January 29, 2017, at the finish line of our first half marathon.
However, there was also that great friend who smuggles a couple of bottles of your favorite wine into the restaurant to make sure you and your besties have some available for the occasion. He embarrasses you to death, but he is such a devoted kind of friend and his efforts are so highly appreciated that you even forget about it and start to see him as the venue's sommelier every time he approaches you to check if you would like more . . .
But not everything is a bed of roses, like when you choke on a piece of bread on your own birthday while the drunken people that supposedly came to celebrate you entertain themselves as they watch you out of breath with smirks on their faces:
"Are you choking?" they asked me as they sipped their wine.
But there's no reason to be concerned here! After slowly walking toward the bathroom using the baby steps method to make sure I wouldn't slip in my high heels and fall on the floor while choking at the same time, I elegantly, finally, managed to make it to the ladies’ room alive. After punching myself a couple of times, everything was solved! And, as far as the piece of bread is concerned, it was actually pretty tasty, just in case you were wondering.
"Are you sure you are OK? Just in case, there's an emergency room right across the street. If you need anything, you can walk there!" the guest informed me as he held a glass of wine with one hand and pointed at the building with the other.
There's also the type of friend who make sure to tell you the only reason they like you is because you make sure everyone gets hydrated after long runs. But you know no matter how much they pick on you, you are certain that when you get home, you will open the birthday card they sent you with the most beautiful things written inside. Words that will literary bring you to tears.
Nevertheless, not all friends play that nice. There was that one friend with a beautiful smile—one of the sexiest runners I've ever met—who, at my own birthday dinner, defied me and had the guts to threaten that she will not think twice before taking something everyone knows belongs to me: my parking spot at the park!
But on the bright side, at least she is not like some other idiots who are late for a run, making me and everyone else hang out under cold, freezing rain and crazy wind gusts of over 20mph just because they can't wake up in time. Friends who constantly tell me I am annoying, obnoxious, bossy, and so on, even at my birthday celebration. Still, they took the time to drive back home after the dinner to pick up my gift, brought it over to me, and decided to stay for one more beer.
There are also the friends who are madly in love with papayas until some heartless person had the courage to tell her what she was really eating was sweet potatoes, and that friend hasn't forgotten that story three years later.
Then there are the friends who take the time on a Thursday evening after work to drive more than half an hour from Miami Beach or Miami Gardens just to spend a couple hours of this very special day with me, knowing they have to drive back and wake up early the next day for work.
And there is also the friend who always praises me. But to balance things out, there is another one who, when he first met my husband, told him he was sorry for him because I am a little bit crazy.
"How can I not love these people?!"
On the other hand, there were friends who brighten up my day with just their smiles, with their good energy, or just by nicknaming me “Loquita.” Or the ones who are just starting to warm up to the group and add so much to it by bringing their spouses along to join this group of crazy but good-hearted people! Not to mention the kindness for taking the time to bring a gift even though I have never have gifted them anything.
As I previously mentioned, despite the fact it was another fun celebration, my heart didn’t feel the same as in previous years, simply because a special friend couldn’t make it. I missed his energy, his funny jokes, and the most stupid things he has to say! This time, he was taking care of his mother. Next year, I will make sure I will reserve a seat right next to me and maybe we, as a team, will be able to figure out how many miles there are in four laps in a four-mile loop when you do the laps riding a bike instead of running. Can you tell I missed you so much, my friend?!
Regardless of those who couldn't make it, I was happy. I got even happier when some who said they had other events going on that same evening found a way of making it to celebrate with me. Also, for the ones who took a moment to stop by and at least give me a hug. Or the ones who made me very emotional by showing up unannounced or those who said that they do not go out on weeknights, but because it was my birthday, they made sure to come.
Finally, there was the friend who, despite not being single anymore, still came and brought her boyfriend along. To be quite honest, I am a huge fan and I can't wait for the premiere of the new season of Fuegos de Kendall"! Hopefully, they will be able to get me a discounted package for the whole series! (Maybe for my next birthday!)
I am so sorry I didn't post a picture of everyone. I guess we were just enjoying the moment and I completely forgot to take a picture with everyone, but know I remembered to write something about every single one of you in this post.
To know that despite your busy schedules you took some time to come and celebrate a special day with me is so humbling and means a lot! Once again, thanks to every single one of you for your time, love, gifts, and cards!
Most of all, celebrating my birthday is a way to express to God how much I appreciate the chance He has giving me to live, and for all the things and amazing people he has put in my life.
BTW . . . What are you doing on your birthday?!