Welcome to my frivolous, self-indulgent, but, hopefully, fun annual birthday post. This week I turn 56. Which, also, happens to be the anniversary week of this blog. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you here the past 6 years! 


This is a strange year. It's as if some mysterious shift occurred, and I have passed from junior status to senior (and not just in the eyes of McDonald's or Denny's). I feel like I have moved from getting older to growing old. From being careful in sharing wisdom gained through years of experience to a new kind of desperation to pass that wisdom on to others, especially those on the precipice of failing or falling! 


After 56 years, I feel I'm far enough along in life to share with you what I miss about the "olden days." Yet, before I do, be assured there is so much I love and appreciate about the days in which I now live. So, here goes: 


One of the things I miss most from my childhood days is the welcome committee who greeted my family and me with excited squeals and extravagant hugs at the gate where we arrived at their small Michigan airport each summer. And, the same group of aunts, cousins and grandmas who filled the gate area with mournful tears and lingering goodbyes when my little brother, mom, dad, and I had to return home a week or so later.  


I felt so loved and special! Today, not only are we restricted from going all the way to the gate to welcome or send off loved ones, but for many it's become a convenient excuse to simply drop off or pick up a loved one curbside, with a cursory hug and kiss before we're herded apart by TSA.


In addition to airport hello's and goodbye's, more and more, I miss features that make people distinct. For example, back in the day, I cherished more than one friends' crooked smile. But today, with the availability of orthodontia and cosmetic dentistry, it's seem like everyone has completely straight teeth and the perfect smile. And, as I grow older, I'm sad to see that crooked smiles, as well as other quirky qualities which make a person distinct, have all but disappeared. (I know this makes me sound so old). 


Finally, one of the characteristics I miss most, which made her distinct, is my grandmother's soft, flowing wrinkles. I remember holding my Grandma's face in my tiny hands, during our summer visits to Michigan, and loving the softness of her skin and the folds which gently shaped her beautiful, round face. I don't know what kind of lotions and potions she used to keep her skin so soft, but I'm thankful it didn't take her wrinkles away.  


So today, if you'll indulge me, I would like to close by sharing with you a little wisdom from this "growing old" side of my life.


First, I would tell you, park your car! I know it will cost you a little money, but, whenever possible go inside the airport where a loved one is departing or arriving. Let them now that they are valuable to you and worth your time, in a busy day, to greet or send off with a little extra love, plus a proper hug and kiss.  


Second, look for and find the quality that makes a person distinct. Then, tell them how much you appreciate that feature. When I was a little girl, people teased me mercilessly about my big, crooked nose. I hated it. But, it was the nose God gave me. Thankfully, over time, the teasing stopped. Since then, I learned to concentrate on another comment I have heard, "I love your smile!" Wow, such a blessing to hear that. And, just think, my smile (a quality that others like about me) is right under my big, funky nose. So, I encourage you, look for the "beauty mark" in others. And, tell them! Let them know how much you love that attribute about them!  


And, last but not least, cherish (what others may consider) the "flaws." I was so blessed to be able to hold my Grandma's face during her final years. She moved to Arizona with my parents, after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There, I had the privilege to visit her more often, to spend special moments reminiscing, as well as to cherish, a few last times, the privilege of cupping her soft, round, wrinkled face, once again, in my "all grown-up" hands. 


Thank you for indulging this birthday girl. Now, I encourage you, go and do likewise!