I feel like I've been kicked around for a bit.
I'll say it only this once: I'm not made for corporate muscling. I deal and trade in sincerity and passion. I sound like I'm bragging? Not really. To be honest, it's a pitfall when it comes to my profession.
I've learned to function as my real self in this industry anyway.
But I'm surrounded by so many good things and even better, brighter, souls that I'm tempted to just brush all of this off. I'll have to deal with it head on, though. It's still work. I know I can muscle through this just as well as anyone. It'll just be harder because I cannot stand to be ruthless. I am too soft.
Buck up, kid.
Last week, I turned 28. It didn't happen silently.
Two special people woke up extra early during a weekday to have breakfast with me in my favorite cafe. The barista, a cheerful girl with long blonde hair who has been brewing my morning caffeine fix for the better part of a year, gave me my coffee for free. Free coffee!!! I am all about that life!
Saturday, my oldest friends made sure that I blew all the candles on several delicious cakes. Clincher? They're all my favorites. Yulo's stawberry shortcake, green tea white chocolate torte via Homemade by Roshan, Polly's chocolate cake, Cuerva's mango torte, etc. I love cake. It's not a birthday without cakes, plural.
So, as they were making sure I blew all the candles, I was also chastised for wearing a dress with a plunging neckline on my birthday thing. But it's my birthday??
(It's apparently because plunging necklines are not conducive to documenting candle-blowing that entails running from one cake to another. Oh well. You can have your cake and eat it too, I guess.)
After stuffing ourselves with cake, we went out to karaoke. They sang terrible songs, by the way. I mean, it was my birthday, so of course I had the right to put up my hood and bust out "his palms are sweaty, knees weak, arm's are heavy, mom's spaghetti" with ~feelings~! But all of you! The Jubilee Song? Ordertaker?
...okay, maybe I can blame the seven bottles of sake for that. Fine.
Sunday, a spicy Thai feast with my family then coffee in a sun-drenched hotel lounge. But most of all, this bright little someone named Saige. Niece, tugger-of-hearts, precocious little pup, dolphin whisperer, APPLE ORCHARD OF MY EYES. This was her after lunch. Do you know why she was making those faces?
Because of the wind.
Her first time to feel the caress of wind on her cheeks. The way it made her giggle in delight and scrunch up her eyes. The innocence and the joy of it...
I was shocked. I could go on about how much it melted my heart, but I wouldn't be able to stop. She is such a gift. I'm surprised that there exists a part of me that would find grace in such a small moment. Frankly, the past six months have been filled with these pockets of grace, of moments that just stun me into submission. I'm not even her mother. I'm afraid to ask my sister how terrifying it is to have such a force of change in your life.
Somehow, though, I could understand it. My love for her, when she was born, was instant and fierce. My stand on having children is ambivalent, at best. But this little bug, I will protect and love and herd and hold close for as long as I am able to.
I will give her the wind.
What is worth celebrating, what is not?
It's a question I've been wrestling with recently. But in the end, you just take the cake and take a beloved's offered hand. Isn't that the sane thing to do in this hard and unrelenting world?
28 years. I choose and relish all this sweetness. It's good to stock up on it for the stormy days.