How do you celebrate birthdays?
My mom is wonderful with birthdays. Growing up we had our aunts, uncles, and cousins come over for dinner (plus cake and ice cream) on our “real” birthdays every year and for big milestone birthdays we had a bowling party or a sleepover with our friends.
When I left home and moved away, she made sure to see me the week before or week after my birthday. Freshman year of college, she drove two hours on a Saturday morning to show up at my dorm room with a birthday party in a box – complete with cake, candles, and party hats for my friends down the hall. I am thankful to have a mom (and family) care so much about my birthday.
One year I remember telling her she didn’t have to drive the five hours to see me for my birthday. She sounded heart-broken when I told her I would be OK not seeing her this year. She then shared that celebrating my birthday with me wasn’t just about me – it was for her, too.
“It’s my thing. I will do whatever I can to spend my children’s birthdays with them. I’ll drive all day to see you on that day because I want to – not just to bring you presents and cake. It’s because I became your mother on that day.”
She made sense to me, but everything clicked together when we were getting ready to celebrate my first son’s first birthday. I was in a bridal party that same weekend, I had to work the day before so I took an extended lunch hour to eat pizza and drink juice with his lunch buddies. I’m lucky to say it was a loud, messy, and wonderful time to spend together and create new memories of his special day.
He celebrated his 8th birthday this weekend and instead of sIeeping late and leisurely playing video games, he decided to wake up earlier than his brothers and go for a super early walk with his grandmother. (My mom makes sure to visit on grandchildren’s birthdays, too.) He laid out his clothes the night before, complete with hat and gloves, so that he wouldn’t wake up anyone else and they quietly left the house together to walk the dog to the bay to see the sun come up. I love that he loves his grandmother, our dog, and nature - but the best part is seeing him cherish the time with someone who also cherishes time with him.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me this is the best way to celebrate birthdays.