I’m taking a break from cleaning up last night’s dishes to write this post; I can hear the baby sucking her thumb through the monitor which means she is either on the cusp of soothing herself deeper into sleep, or on the brink of stirring awake. Dishes can wait. Writing cannot.

This morning, I woke up to my husband singing the Hindi version of Happy Birthday. It’s cute when he sings it because half the words are totally made up, but it’s become a tradition in my home to sing this on birthdays as it was a tradition in my family’s home growing up. My dear friend posted the song on my Facebook wall as well – have a listen. I can pretty much guarantee it will put a smile on your face (or make you lol for real):

Such a simple gesture by my husband and my friend, but their thoughtfulness is not lost on me. Of course I would think of my mom today. She loved celebrating our birthdays; my brother’s is tomorrow and hers is 3 days after. Throw in Mother’s Day and this week was a pretty festive one growing up. That feeling for me is wrapped up in this song. I know my brother understands this, and sharing this time with him is a blessing. When we were kids, people used to ask me, “Don’t you hate that your brother’s birthday is right after yours? You always have to celebrate it together?” I never thought of it that way. I always thought it was cool that I had an almost twin born three years and a day later.

After getting the two older kids ready on this beautiful morning, we piled into the car and drove the short distance to school. I received a birthday hug from a friend who I met in September of 2012 as our daughters began Kindergarten together. This is how we met:

Me: Hi, I’m Taslim. I just had a miscarriage.

She: Hi. I’m so sorry. It’s hard. I’ve had two.

Ok, so it wasn’t totally like that, but yeah, this pretty much happened in our first conversation. Who starts a friendship like that? We do, I guess! Since then we have weathered the firsts of everything ‘elementary school’ together and now she cares for my son on Mondays so I can have a day of just me and baby. Driving home from school, I thought about this and said a little thank you to the Universe for always sending me who and what I need, right on time.

Came home and got another birthday hug from my hubby who then left for work. I emptied the kitchen garbage and rolled the big monster garbage and organic waste bins to the curb, crinkling my nose at the smell. Not a glamorous moment, but an important one today. In that one hold-my-breath instant I was grateful for: sanitation, the physical ability to do the job, the sun shining on me as I stood at the end of the driveway, my home, my sleeping baby, clean water, my shoes, the birds chirping, my garden, and my neighbours. Not bad for a split second standing over rotting garbage.

Came back in to a dirty kitchen. This doesn’t happen often because after dinner clean-up is usually taken care of by the hubs. But this morning, the dishwasher needed emptying so that I could load up the dirty dishes, some bigger dishes needed washing and the island needed a good wipe. I surveyed the scene before me and saw the hand-me-down dishes from my grandmother and parents – a hodgepodge of reminders that meals with my family are the tastiest. I am thankful for the dinners past and look forward to planning more.

And that’s when I heard the sucking through the monitor. And here we are. I’m writing because it’s what I love. And while I would welcome the time to write more, I’m not going to complain about that. Being passionate about my work is hardly something to whine about. And besides, when I’m not writing, I’m spending a great deal of time with our third miracle baby. I wiggle her toes every day, I place my nose in her neck and take a deep whiff, I blow on her cheek to make her giggle, I stare at her toothless gums and marvel at the changes she has already undergone in just 5 months. I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to forget the beautiful feeling of turning thirty six this way.

For the past few birthdays, I have heard the Aga Khan’s words in my head, “This life is but a blink of an eye in all of eternity.” When I was a pre-teen and couldn’t wait to be ‘older’, this made no sense to me. It was taking forever to graduate high school. And besides, if I was going to live till 90-something then life was really looooooong.

And then I blinked. And I’m 36. And I’m going to blink again, but before I do I’m hitting pause on this moment. I invite you to join me in doing so. (I mean, for heaven’s sakes, we can actually pause a T.V. show – which I still cannot get over – we can certainly stop life for a second). Take a moment and look around. Survey the scene. Listen to your thoughts. Notice your breath and make it deeper. And that’s it. That’s all it takes to remember you are alive.

I hope you have a day filled with many moments of gratitude and a lifetime of feeling alive.

P.S. She’s still sleeping – I’m off to finish those dishes! 🙂