by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

This morning, my birthday began with a wet nose pressed up against my cheek at 6 am. My almost 2-year-old Lab/Great Dane mix was ready to go outside and greet the day. From the other end of the house, I could hear our youngest dog, the lab/beagle mix, aka Honey Badger, singing me the song of her people. Yep. Birthday or not, it was time to get up and start the day.

A few minutes later, cup of coffee provided to me by my wonderful husband in hand, I sat on one of our wicker benches, looking out across the field behind our house. A flock of geese flew through, busily gossiping with each other as they sought out every cricket in the tall grass in the fields.

I love Mississippi Gulf Coast early mornings.

The sun was rising, the sound of the birds, the crickets, and a light summer breeze surrounded me.

Yep. Today is my 48th birthday.

When I was younger, birthdays meant different things to me. They meant waking up early, cocktails and brunch at the newest and latest restaurant, celebrating all day with friends, and possibly even heading out to some upscale location that catered to your every need for dinner.

As I grew older, I toned things down a bit. Birthdays started meaning Mani/Pedi/spa days, getting my hair done and pampering sessions.

Now, birthdays are proof that every year I’ve pulled a little further away from that diagnosis of cancer in 2008.

Yesterday, we also quietly celebrated the five-year anniversary of the opening of the doors of my little country law firm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

We ran by my favorite family store, picked up some Dungeness crabs, and I and my husband and niece watched reality shows, laughed, enjoyed a meal, and tried to keep lemon butter from getting everywhere.

Afterwards, we all had a piece of New York cheesecake, provided to me as a birthday gift by that same family store…even the dogs enjoyed a little bit of cheesecake before they fell asleep last night.

Today, I finished my coffee, headed inside, and started prepping for brunch.

Later, we’re going to fire up the grill, splash around in the pool, listen to classic rock, and possibly even partake of an adult beverage or two.

Quiet.

Understated.

But perfect.

I love cooking for my family. To me, it’s not a burden. It’s one of my greatest pleasures.

In my 20s, birthdays were all about celebrating and socializing.

In my 30s, birthdays turn into me-sessions.

In my 40s and as I round the corner and look straight in the eyes of 50, I have found that cooking for others, serving others, and just hanging out with some of my favorite people gives me more peace and more joy than dining in the fanciest restaurant and being pampered in the most posh spa.

The moral of the story, folks, is celebrate in your own way.

Find your own peace.

Whatever brings you joy, as long as it’s legal, go for it. (Ha ha sorry, had to throw that in, as I am a lawyer, after all).

For this old Blue Jean lawyer, it means turning up the music and pulling food out of the freezers and fridge.

Y’all have a wonderful week