A selection of haiku is the paper icing on the inflatable cake

Paper icing on an inflatable cake is the best birthday present I could wish for.

If that sounds weird, let me catch you up:

Last year I wrote about inflatable cake

My birthday fell on #thankyouthursday last year, which gave me a perfect opportunity to share my gratitude for, among other things, my family’s tradition of inflatable cake.

inflatable birthday cake

The infamous inflatable birthday cake, circa May 2016.

As I explained last year, my family essentially has an inflatable cake chain letter—once you receive it, it’s your responsibility to send it on to the family member whose birthday is up next.

Last year, the cake came to me with something new: a note attached. I was delighted, and curious to find out what whether the notes would continue to pile up as the next year passed.

They did.

This year the inflatable cake had paper icing

When I pried the as-yet-deflated vinyl out of its bubble mailer, I had to be careful not to dislodge the pile of paper on top of it.

I wasn’t even sure I could successfully inflate it with all the notes that adorned it.

But I could, and I did.

inflatable birthday cake with paper icing

In 2017, the inflatable cake is covered with paper icing.

It was such a treat to see all the clever comments, poems, and greetings my family members had shared with one another over the course of the last twelve months.

The messages weren’t directed to me, but they warmed my heart all the same.

Well, most of the messages weren’t directed to me.

The gift of haiku

Instead of a standard birthday greeting, this year my cousin composed a selection of haiku for me, which I am sharing here with his permission:

I think this poetry speaks for itself, so the only thing I want to say is that I am very grateful for it.

It is easy to take life too seriously. So don’t.

I am not particularly excited about my birthday tomorrow.

Of course I am certainly grateful to be alive, and the opportunity for some self-care and reflection is welcome as well.

But too much birthday reflection—Am I old now? Should I have already accomplished more? Do I have enough time left?—is not helpful at all.

That’s why I so appreciated my cousin’s haiku: the perfect combination of serious and silly, they served as an important reminder:

While my life is not a joke, it is absolutely okay to laugh at it.

Love > fear,





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