The Time I Planned My Own Birthday Celebration


Last year about this time, I was dreading a “significant” birthday. Somehow turning 50 seemed really old, like I would never be a cool young mom again. Forget cool. I would never be a young mom again. As the dreaded day got closer and closer, I started fearing my friends wouldn’t know and my husband would forget–ridiculous since we have been together more than half of my life.

I’d only lived here a year–I couldn’t expect my new friends in my new town to even know it was my birthday. And then, one of my friends gave me a brilliant piece of advice, an idea that gave me the freedom to celebrate the way I wanted to. “Plan your own party,” she said. It was like a visible light bulb was over her head. Really? I could do that? Plan my own celebration?

As moms we plan parties for our children, our children’s classrooms, the brownie troop, the youth group, but never for ourselves! Why the heck not?

I dreamed up a few of my favorite things and in 24 hours had a plan that sounded perfect to me. Donuts in the barn at Tourist Home. Hiking West Fork Trail in Sedona followed by lunch (you gotta try their Bacon and Brie Melt with fig jam!) at Indian Gardens and then dinner with my family at Casa Duarte. Can you say, elote? Yep, the day revolved around my favorite foods, people and activities.

No fancy printed invitations. No RSVPs. I just texted the plan to about a dozen friends and told them I’d love for them to join me for any or all of it. They could bring kids. They could come solo. They could stop in before work, whatever.

The morning of, to be honest, I was still a little insecure about whether anyone would come. And then they started trickling in, friends from church, my business partner, my pickleball buddy and her boys, my realtor, a young mom I admire from Mom’s Blog. I treated my friends to coffee and the best donuts in town, we took pictures, talked and laughed. It was perfect.

The rest of the day was self-indulgent and picture perfect–a sweet reminder of God’s goodness to me in every season of life. My forties were full of trials and transition, grace and provision. My fifties are starting off with new friends, new work, new adventures and new confidence. I may not be able to plan what’s for dinner this week or how my teenage daughters will react to my parenting, but I can plan my own birthday celebration, and I’m okay with the rest. What would your perfect birthday celebration look like?