I remember a birthday when I was wearing a party dress waiting at the window for the other girls to arrive. My mom had set the dining room table with fancy cups and saucers and were having a tea for my birthday. Another year I wore Strawberry Shortcake pink overalls with my hair cut short and looking crazy because I didn't brush it and it was a wavy mess. I have a picture of myself on that day with a kool aid mustache and a smile from ear to ear.

One year we piled a bunch of other little girls into our VW van and went mini golfing. For my 12th birthday we were travelling around in an RV and stopped at a Dairy Queen in Georgia for my birthday and all the people in the DQ sang me Happy Birthday.

For my eighteenth birthday it was a house party and my parents weren't there. It was lots of fun and I turned 21 in Granada, Spain at the Plaza San Nicolas looking out on the Alhambra with my friends. That might be my best birthday memory.

Birthdays have never been my favorite thing. Even as a kid my birthday held some sort of sadness. I can't explain why except that I guess I've suffered from depression much longer than I've been taking pills for it. I'm thankful for today and what this life has given me.  I'm thankful for my husband who is so different from me but gets me and puts up with my crap. My three boys who are so funny and kind and unique, my mom and dad who love me, my friends and neighbors who get me water when my water shuts off unannounced, who talk me into taking belly dancing classes, who play songs with me on front porches, who make the treats for my children to bring to school on their birthdays because that's not where my gifts are, who cheer me on during my music journey, for the friends I've made through the years from all over the world who are still in my life and who have helped me become this year's version of me. There's much to be thankful for. 

This year, on my birthday, I'm going to go play a gig with my band and then go out for a birthday drink afterwards. I'm going to work the lunch shift, maybe do a load of laundry and re-pot those plants. We're going to hold a hamster funeral in the backyard after school and look back with fondness on all the good times we had last year. Thanks, everybody.