The Unexpected Party

    I was born on Hobbit Day. September 22, the day Bilbo and Frodo are said to share a birthday in the beloved Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien's masterpiece was one of the many joyful experiences of my childhood. My mother read (at least part of) the books to us when we were young, we watched the cartoon films, and when Peter Jackson's live-action epic movies came out, we eagerly awaited them. 

    On my eighteenth birthday, we held the first ever "Hobbit Feast" in celebration. We made a sign for our door that read "No admittance, except on party business." We labeled bottles of sparkling cider: Old Winyard, 1296. There were riddles, laughs, and most importantly, food. Ham, bread, pie, strawberries with cream, mushrooms, cheese, tea. Anything that made our home feel like a Hobbit hole. 

    We've been doing it ever since. It's a mini-Thanksgiving. It's a celebration of our favorite book, of the first day of Autumn, and honestly my birthday feels like a side-note. I don't mind in the slightest. This year, however, is a little different, and even more special. This year, I share my birthday with my husband.

    It's always been a funny source of pride to share a birthday with the Baggins Boys. Last year, at a Labor day cookout, I told my friends about my family's tradition. Connor, my husband, asked when my birthday is. I told him, and he said that it was his birthday too. Immediately I asked the year, but he's four years older, so it's not an exact match. Learning this fact did puzzle me exceedingly, and I spent the next few weeks wondering if it was just a coincidence. It wasn't.

    On the Friday before Hobbit Day 2020, a friend invited our bible study to come to a "Hobbit Dance" hosted by a local dance group. (Think Jane Austen movies' style of dancing) I went, and so did Connor. He arrived late, so he missed the lesson and had no idea of all the different steps, but that didn't stop him from dancing every dance with me. When the evening was over, we went out for ice cream with his sister and brother-in-law, and I drove home that night thinking my life was probably going to change.

    Six days after our birthday was our first date, and nine months later, we got married at our church, surrounded by all our friends and family. So today's Hobbit Feast is a little different. It's a little more. I found the love of my life, and I get to share my favorite day with him. This year, we hosted the Hobbit Feast, and celebrated our first birthday together. We ate good food, played a game, and opened presents. So while this birthday was indeed "a long-expected party," it was also completely unexpected. Because who would have thought that in finding the love of my life, I, like Bilbo, would get to share a birthday with someone I love, disappear in the night without saying goodbye, and later turn up in Rivendell...Well... at least a little bit like Bilbo, I guess. 

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

~J.R.R Tolkien



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