In my book, a birthday is a Big Deal.

I realize that this may make me sound a bit naive or child-like. After all, isn’t making a fuss over birthdays something you’re supposed to, well, outgrow?

birthdayMany of us claim to have outgrown birthdays, but I don’t think that’s true. It’s more that we’ve metered our expectations. We’ve lived long enough to know that many celebrations don’t turn out as planned, that high expectations are a setup for disappointment. We’ve had friends and family members forget our special day, and, in turn, we’ve forgotten the special days of others. We’ve developed a kind of cynicism; really, isn’t one’s birthday is just another day?

But as children, we don’t think that way. As children, we believe in the magic of birthdays. We count down and wait and plan for our birthdays. We treasure the people who make our birthdays special: the mom who creates a treasure hunt trail of rhyming Post-It notes leading to presents, the dad who buys the kitten-centric card, the friends who share our cake.

To be clear, it’s not all about presents. Presents are great, but at the heart’s center of a birthday is the question: Am I something special? And that question can be answered affirmatively with or without presents.

And when we’re children, who we choose to celebrate our birthday with is a very big deal to us. It’s the earlier equivalent of who we invite to our weddings, who we ask to come over and meet our newborn baby.

birthdaySpeaking of which — I had the privilege of meeting my best friend (and Love’s Subversive Stance designer) Tam’s newborn son last week. If you need some perspective on your life, hold a day-old baby. Consider the fact that you were once that vulnerable, that beloved.

Consider the fact that, for all you’ve grown and changed, you still are. You may not have had the ideal family life or the perfect body, but you were — are— a treasure. And on your birthday, you get to rock that truth.

When done right, birthdays are about radical fun and radical acceptance. Birthdays say, Hey, you, you’re great just as you are. We’re glad you’re here. And that’s why birthdays are a big deal at A Wish Come Clear: because birthdays are what we’re all about. Birthdays are part of our mission, the part that says, Every person has treasure within, and it’s all worth digging for. 

In that spirit, I’d like to announce Pay What You Can Day here at A Wish Come Clear. It’s a way of saying thank you and sharing a little birthday cheer. For today, June 4th only, you’ll be able to name your own price on a (digital) copy of Love’s Subversive Stance. (Suggested price is $10, as usual.) You can get a copy for yourself, or for a friend, coworker, or family member — maybe one who has a birthday around the corner. Pay What You Can Day starts now, and ends at 10a EST on Tuesday, June 5th.

Love’s Subversive Stance: Ground Yourself & Grow In Relationship is a collection of stories centered on this question: how can we honor our passions and our caregiving relationships at the same time? In loving someone with intellectual challenges and disabilities, how can we become more fully ourselves?

This book is NOT a quick-fix. Instead, it’s about telling true stories…the sort of stories that will allow you to become rooted and grow. It’s about examining the seemingly insignificant details of your day, and seeing what they say about you and your relationships. This 90+ page book is for people who want to say YES to standing on the subversive soil of love for (and with) people with disabilities.


“The grace of God means something like:
Here is your life. You might never have been, but
you are because the party wouldn’t have been
complete without you.”
~ Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking

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  1. Mary June 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM - Reply

    Happy birthday, dear Caroline!! I hope that you feel yourself surrounded by love today 🙂 Big hug!

    • Caroline McGraw June 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM - Reply

      Thank you, Mary! Indeed I do – am embracing the concept of birthday week, as inspired by you. 🙂 xoxo

  2. R June 4, 2012 at 2:24 PM - Reply

    Happy birthday, C.

    • Caroline McGraw June 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM - Reply

      Muchos gracias! Hope you liked the photo – I definitely loved the surprise!

  3. Metod June 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM - Reply

    Caroline, wishing you a wonderful Birthday!
    I hope that your family and friends really pamper you today! 🙂
    Sending lots of hugs!

    • Caroline McGraw June 4, 2012 at 8:49 PM - Reply

      🙂 Much appreciated, Metod! Thank you — your hope has indeed come true, as I’ve been treated to so many delights today.

  4. Mary Shapiro June 4, 2012 at 7:51 PM - Reply

    You’re the coolest dear Caroline!
    Here’s a song for you:
    They say you’re having a birthday today HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
    You sure got over your baby ways HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
    You’re another year older we wish you many more
    With health and wealth and Friends by the score!
    Cut the cake! (and let’s eat some more 🙂
    by John McCutcheon

    • Caroline McGraw June 4, 2012 at 8:50 PM - Reply

      Mary, how fun! Thank you for this, and for the music you bring everywhere you go. 🙂

  5. Renee June 4, 2012 at 11:41 PM - Reply

    Happy birthday, Caroline!

  6. Tam June 6, 2012 at 2:01 PM - Reply

    Hi Cari,

    Thank you for the special shout-out to our new little one. As we’ve started to take him out and about, it has been amazing to watch people’s reactions to a new baby. People just melt when they see someone so small and new…even people you wouldn’t expect…and it’s amazing!! To consistently get glimpses of softness and connection in such a cold, distant world.

    And it makes me believe that you are totally right. What better way to remember how powerful birth and new life are than to keep celebrating the big day, year after year.

    From someone who is very, very glad that you were born.
    Love you, Tam

    • Caroline McGraw June 6, 2012 at 3:19 PM - Reply

      What a wonderful sharing – thank you, my dear friend. I’m so happy for you and your new family member. 🙂 I love you too!

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