I’ve always loved rainbows. If you’re a child of the 70s, chances are that you do too. Perhaps it was being raised by hippies in a post-Woodstock era. Or perhaps it was because rainbows are rare flashes of celestial beauty, that can only be found after the rain. Or maybe it’s because of a loveable green frog who sang an ode to rainbows in the Muppet Movie of 1979. Maybe it’s a little bit of all the above. At any rate, I have always loved rainbows and when I decided to throw a birthday party for myself this past weekend, the theme was “Let’s Play” and it incorporated my favorite things from childhood: hula hoops, bubbles, balloons, hopscotch, coloring, jump rope, playdoh, pinwheels and of course rainbows.
This birthday was the first birthday that I’ve celebrated as a divorced woman. Like with so many things on the other side of a divorce, I was gifted a clean slate and I could decide to celebrate however I wanted. My kids would be at my ex’s and I had a weekend to do with as I wished. What was it that my soul was craving? The answer was resoundingly clear: anything but adulting!! So I decided on my playful theme, then called on my mom to help me create physical invitations just like I did as a child.
I had it all figured out: the menu would comprise of my favorite childhood snacks, the beverage bar would be a lemonade stand where guests could add spirits if they’d like, for dessert we’d have homemade strawberry shortcake made by Mom. Guests would RSVP with their favorite childhood songs (defined as any favorite songs of theirs before they had to start paying their own bills) and I’d build a playlist to blast through the backyard as we spent the afternoon playing away.
And that’s when I was reminded that I’m not in charge
You see, the party was designed to take place in my backyard and it was set to kick off around 3pm. Around 2:45pm, the skies grew real dark and the wind started to pick up. The hammock blew over and the pinwheels were flying out of the ground. There had been no rain in the forecast. I checked my phone (because apparently I didn’t believe what I was seeing in the sky). The weather app confirmed that it was going to rain on my party. As the first guests arrived, the skies opened up and it began to pour! I remember laughing to myself and thinking “of course! Of course it’s raining on my party! That’s just so metaphoric for the year that I’ve had!” The funny thing is, I wasn’t angry. I was like “Ok universe. I hear you: there’s only so much that I can orchestrate, and the rest is out of my hands.” So we watched the rain. We pulled the chairs and tables and coloring inside and turned on the disco lights a little bit earlier than I had imagined.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” –Vivian Greene.
I didn’t dance in the rain this year like I did on that stormy birthday in Tulum, Mexico a few years back. But here’s the beautiful thing. About two hours after the rain started, the most beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. And not just any rainbow: a full double rainbow! It was absolutely spectacular! My heart leaped with joy and awe at the magnificent reminder that even in the darkest days, there is always hope for a more beautiful tomorrow. God (and I mean whatever version of God, Goddess, Spirit, Higher Being, The Universe that you connect with) was reminding me that She had my back. She was the one in charge. And She would always make something magnificent out of the mess.
The skies cleared. We rolled the table and chairs back out. We turned on the bubble machine, sang with our favorite hits of years gone by and played some outdoor games. We talked and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company until the late hours of the evening. It was well with my soul. In fact, it was more than well with my soul: it was a sort of cleansing, a washing away of the previous year in order to lay a clean foundation for my next trip around the sun.
Kermit sings: “Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star? …. what’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing? And what do we think we might see? Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection: the lovers, the dreamers and me… all of us under its spell, we know that it’s probably magic!” My birthday was absolutely magical. Of all the things that I thought about when planning my party, I never thought about adding REAL RAINBOWS. Luckily God always has a bigger and more beautiful plan for us than what we could ever imagine. And for that gift from the Universe, I will forever be humbled and grateful.