To the Nines

49th bd picI have a birthday coming up. And although everybody’s birthday is special, mine is rather unique in that I share the day with my mother and my niece. Three generations of girls born on the same day is a pretty impressive feat. My mother occasionally gets asked if she scheduled my delivery date on purpose.

“No!” she always answers, a little annoyed. “Why would I want to spend my birthday in pain?” (It’s a touchy subject for her. Apparently I wasn’t an easy delivery.)

As for my niece, it was very thoughtful of my sister-in-law to accidentally go into labor—early—so we three ladies could share our day.

The nice thing about having a shared birthday is that we always, always get a shindig. Everyone else in the family? Meh. They get a card.

But this year, there is some strife amongst we three queens regarding this particular celebration. It’s a landmark birthday for two of the three: Mom will be 75, and Rachel will be 18. As for me . . . let’s just say my age will end in a 9 and leave it at that.

In order to keep things even, they want me to skip my “9” year and move on to the “0” year. That way we can all have a big-deal birthday the same year.

Not happening.

49th birthday cakeThey begged. They pleaded. They even promised that if I move to the decade year this year, I can go backward starting next year. I considered that possibility, but only if I could keep going backward after that. But even with the promise of growing perpetually younger, I decided it’s not a good idea. I have a hard enough time remembering my age as it is. Throw a skip and a backward hop in there, and I’ll be lost for all eternity.

As absurd as it sounds, I’ve had to actually gather evidence and make my case to my family, to keep my age as it is. And the best argument I’ve found is the fact that this is my “9” year. I want to raise my glass and make a toast, “to the nines.”

If someone is dressed to the nines, that means they’re dressed to excessive perfection. The phrase to the nines actually means that—excessively, abundantly perfect. So this year, my dear readers and members of the jury, is my year of perfection and abundance. How could it possibly be a good idea for me to skip “to the nines” and trade it in for a big, fat zero?

God Himself is in favor of nines. Matthew 5:48 tells us, “Be to the nines, as your heavenly Father is to the nines.” (Renae Brumbaugh Green translation.) If God is perfect, and He wants us to be perfect, and nine means perfect, then skipping this birthday would clearly be in direct contradiction to God’s will for my life.

Your honor, I rest my case. This year, I’ll celebrate the “9” to the nines. If anyone has a problem with that, they can take it up with the Big Guy.

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matthew 5:48.


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