Birthdays.. the word conjures up memories of balloons, cake and pin the tail on the donkey (weren’t those games always lame?). As a child, birthdays were
second in importance of holidays. Only Christmas was more important. You would agonize over which friends to invite and what to put on your wish list.
Parents plan for these parties like a general planning for war. Each party needs
to be different and better than last years (or the little girl’s down the street). I remember the year my daughter wanted a pool party. Her birthday is in May- not exactly pool weather in Michigan! So we rented two rooms at a local hotel
and had our party there to my daughter’s delight and her friend’s envy!
As you get older, birthdays change. You dream of breakfast in bed, your favorite dinner (in a restaurant- not cooking it yourself!), and the PERFECT gift. Quickly this fantasy fades. Reality sets in and birthday just becomes another day. You still have laundry to do and bills to pay. It only takes one or two years to understand that birthdays are very different now that you are an adult and certainly as a mom. My first birthday after getting married was a shocker.
Not only my husband forgot but my family did too! Only after listening to my crying for hours, did my husband pull a frozen pie out of the freezer, put candles on it, and sing happy birthday.
Some adults fear and dread their coming birthdays because they mark another year closer to old age and death. They fight getting older. Just go to the make-up isle of any store to see that. The cosmetics industry makes tons of money off that fear. I remember that my mom never would admit her true age. She would tell everyone (each and every year) that this was her 25th birthday. We weren’t quite that gullible. We would tease her about WHICH 25th birthday this one was.
What do we really celebrate with birthdays? The name says it all! We should celebrate the day we came into the world rather than a number! Just ask any mom and they can recall in detail, the day their child was born (much to the horror of women who haven’t given birth). I do recommend not asking a brand new mom- she may have a painful perception! I believe that parents set out with good intentions to celebrate the birth of their child each year. But somewhere down the line, it becomes a competition or a death march.
It isn’t about gifts and cards- and I’m sure that Hallmark would never tell you that! Don’t you agree that a hug or a heartfelt letter is more meaningful than
a cake, candles, or piñata? Birthdays should simply be a celebration of a person’s existence by the people who impact their lives. Instead we should celebrate the wonder of the day and thank the person for sharing their life with us.
After all.. we are the lucky ones and have them in our lives!