Last week I celebrated my 31st birthday. I wanted to enjoy the day without over planning it. For a few days leading up to it I felt that it was important that I spend the entire day with my boys. Sergio is usually really good at sneaking in a few surprises to keep it somewhat spontaneous, but he knew that what I wanted the most was to be with my family and celebrate together.
I decided on a somewhat indulgent dinner for the evening, so I opted to keep it healthy and light for brunch to have a balanced birthday. We went to Zend Conscious Lounge in Yaletown which is an all organic and vegetarian spot that I have gone to before. I enjoy the healthy, nutritious menu items here because taste is never sacrificed for healthy ingredients. The ambience is very relaxing and you can feel that the people who work here authentically believe in what they are sharing through this restaurant.
When they told me that my favourite item wasn't available I was disappointed for a brief moment but quickly said to Sergio that the point for the day was to appreciate every moment and to be in full gratitude for my blessed life. I am focusing on all the wonderful things in my life today and will stay in that mental state. Needless to say everything we had was fantastic.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon, which just so happened to be one of the rainiest Monday's I can remember, we walked in the rain downtown while shopping for a few things under a massive family sized umbrella. I'm not usually one who really enjoys rainy walks, but on my birthday it was simply refreshing.
The evening was spent at Baru Latino, a Latin American restaurant on the West Side of Vancouver. Now I'm going to be honest, finding a restaurant with a variety of authentic and delicious Latin American food in Vancouver isn't as easy as it would be in a city like New York, where places like that are the norm, like sushi is here. All I wanted was to enjoy lively latin music and delicious food from various countries in one spot that wasn't just serving tacos. Well Baru Latino definitely met my expectations!
There were so many delicious items to choose from. Dishes from Peru, Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela and more. I finally settled with the Argentinian steak for my main dish with a Latin Lover cocktail- not a very traditional pairing but it worked for me!
I had Romeo next to me eating Platanos and Sergio was having a rich Pork Chop dish with a guava glaze, which was absolutely delicious. All of us were really enjoying ourselves.
At the end of our dinner right when we were about to have our dessert, I received some very shocking and sad news about a close relative of mine who had passed away that morning. I was very upset so I took a few moments to regroup myself in the bathroom. I came back to the table and had my family sing Happy Birthday to me. I was eating my dessert fighting tears but also was so grateful that I had my son and partner with me. All the way home all I could think of was how fragile life really is. One moment I'm celebrating life and the next I'm mourning the death of a loved one. Life is so precious and we often take day to day living and even celebrations for granted. I had such a powerful and tangible reflection of how the simplest things in life, the things that have no price tag, that cost nothing are the most valuable without a doubt.
Love and my family were the most precious birthday gifts that day, and they are everyday.
My mother flew down to California to show her support and I witnessed many of my family members join and really come together to show their love. Our family really is one of a kind. We are nuts and we do some crazy things but when it comes down to it and things get tough, we will always be there for one another and show our love when it's most needed. No amount of money can buy that family connection and unity. It is a kind wealth that some people sadly will never feel and know. That type of wealth for us comes first and I am so incredibly grateful that God has blessed me with a family that knows how to celebrate the good times and also knows how to be there and love one another through the hard times.
Looking back this whole week at my birthday I can whole heartedly say that I am really glad that from the moment I woke up I chose to be grateful for my life and to have nothing but gratitude in my mind and heart for everything that I'm blessed with. My very life itself being the most essential, and sharing that life with my loving family. Having that in my mind that entire day allowed for me to be able to experience joy in many moments and respond to everything I experienced in pure love and I will always have this one particular birthday as a reminder of what really matters.
I dedicate this to my entire family. I love you all so much and it really gives me a lot of comfort feeling and seeing how all of us supported one another with so much love and will always continue to!