Slaves to fitting in, to the routine of birthdays, to one-up the year before. Simplifying takes a lot of energy. Definitely,

I grew up with family birthdays, where the nicest thing was getting a cake from the cake store. I also remember birthdays being emotionally charged, as spirits were tense, and things came up. I never understood why.

I got no presents, and I didn’t expect presents. Birthdays were special, memorable, as sometimes we took pictures on birthdays.

Anyway, as adults, my husband and I like to escape on our birthdays. Take time to breath deeply, to reflect, to relax.

Last year we celebrated Jackie in the park. It was a very special warm mid October day. We had fancy cake, and lots of friends and we were exhausted by the end of it. Was it worth it? Definitely. Do I want to do it the same way every year? Nope.

Birthdays mean obligations. Spending and planning. Things get more and more fancy. And our little people don’t need more fancy, they need connection and simplicity.

I want to spend time with friends, low key, breaking bread, having and making room for anyone hungry for friendship.

Occasionally, celebrating with friends, the present friends, with joy and anticipation.

Today is Conrad’s birthday. I bought and wrapped his gifts, two important books, a month ago. He woke up first. Took Rufus for a walk, came back and made coffee. We enjoyed a lovely quiet morning. Then we gave him his presents, which he received with joy, grace and gratitude. He spend the better part of an hour savoring the kew garden flower book, while listening to music and marveling at the details in the book, sharing it with us.

Late morning we went for a hike in the shade, breezy nature with friends whose parents are visiting from abroad. We took along my dad too. It was light and nice. Upon our return I made oven baked salmon, with broccoli and cus-cus. It was absolutely delicious! Conrad was quite pleased with the culinary experience.

Now we are about to share with my parents a slice of frozen mocha cheesecake made by him. It was a good day.