It is also an exciting birthday because, well, it marks another year that I have survived on this earth. One never know which year will be the last, but since facing a breast cancer diagnosis four days before my thirtieth birthday, making it to 32 seems monumental. I had a terribly aggressive cancer that has a high chance of recurrence (less than 50% 5-year survival rate, with the highest chance of recurrence in the first 1-2 years!!!!). Knowing these statistics made it hard at times to visualize my 32 birthday.
But what is a 32nd birthday, anyway, compared to something like high school prom. Prom is often a one-time event, in addition to being an important event at an age in which you are perhaps just beginning to have diverse important events. Youth brings further significance to milestones. So at some point during treatment I quit trying to visualize my 32nd birthday and instead started visualizing myself helping my youngest daughter prepare for her high school prom. Surviving until your 32nd birthday is a lot less stressful when you set your goals for somewhere around your 46th. And I am in no way capable of picturing myself at 46, so I have the distinct pleasure of assuming my continued existence until then.
IBC statistics, come and get me.
My transition from concern that I'd make it to 32 to the assumption that I'd still be here doesn't make the birthday any less special. What it does is allows me to enjoy a normal birthday like I always have.
The girls each got to choose and wrap a present for me. The gifts are perched on the buffet, awaiting tomorrow with more patience than I have. Ian said he took them to a craft store and that they wanted to buy me everything, including an entire row of fuzzy fabric bolts arranged by ROYGBIV. It will be so cute to see what they chose in the end, but I actually don't need any presents at all. I already have everything I need.