I come from a large Filipino family, and my brother’s birthday is six days before mine. My family always combined our two birthdays, efficiently marking them both on my brother’s day. When I turned ten, there was no celebration, no acknowledgement, no well wishes. I was super bummed. Once again, I had been overlooked and forgotten. What did I do? I found a box of Duncan Hines mix and baked my own cake.
Throughout my early adulthood, I would look back on this sad birthday and mourned the fact that I often felt neglected and unseen by my family, especially by my parents. When I was in therapy in my late 20s, I painted a portrait of myself as a young girl mixing the batter.
Recently, I have revisited this birthday story and see it in a different light. Rather than dwelling on this as a stuck “I do not matter” tale, I now see my younger self as a resilient and resourceful girl. That girl knows that she matters and celebrates herself.
2015 is a huge, auspicious year for me: I turn fifty this August and am in the process of becoming a certified CTI Co-Active coach and an OSU Certified Master Gardener. In this sweet time, I am embracing and sharing gifts that I have through connecting, coaching, writing, and gardening. Oddly and wonderfully enough, my family, most notably my mom and dad, are also joining me in the celebration. I’m feeling seen.
While mixing up my own batter, I see my role as friend, wife, sister, daughter, and coach as a helpmate in others’ life kitchens where they, too, bake and delight in their own sweet cake.