Yesterday I turned 31. As anyone reading this blog is sure to know, birthdays as an adult are just not the same as birthdays when you were a kid. Sure, adult birthdays are still great. They are a day when the people closest to you extend you well-wishes, reminding you of how blessed you are. They are a day for reflecting on who you’ve become and all that you’ve accomplished. And, if you are anything like me, birthdays are a day where for an entire 24 hours you can shirk your household duties and take a nap while your husband washes the dishes.
While all of these things are great, adult birthdays just do not compare to that magical, anything-can-happen feeling birthdays had as a kid. Until, of course, you have kids of your own.
Once you have kids of your own, birthdays take on a renewed importance. All of a sudden, birthday means more than dinner out at a nice restaurant. There must be presents. And cake. With candles. Balloons. “Lots of peoples” (as KJ puts it). In short, birthdays all of a sudden revert back to being a celebration.
And now that I think about it, that’s really a nice thing. I’m not the type of person who typically makes a big deal about my birthday. While I don’t sweat getting older, I don’t embrace the limelight either. I’m just as happy with a homemade dinner and a card from my kids as I could ever be with a surprise shindig in my honor. But keeping things low-key doesn’t mean doesn’t mean not celebrating.
After becoming a mom, I realized that birthday celebrations are not all about the birthday kid at all. As a mom, my kid’s birthday meant celebrating another year of joy for me. It meant immense pride in who my kid was as a person, and the role I played in helping him (or her) become that person. It meant remembering how much we longed for a baby and the heartbreak of repeated disappointment. For one child, the birthday means celebrating the realization of a dream. For another child, it means celebrating the blessing we didn’t expect.
And this celebration of other people’s birthdays isn’t just limited to moms celebrating the birth of their kids. The birthday of a friend or family member is an opportunity to celebrate that person and their contributions to our life. To celebrate who they are, and who we are because of them. These are celebrations that don’t become any less important simply because we get older.
Thankfully, I have KJ and Sweet Pea to remind of that. They will ensure that every year I celebrate my friends and family and their amazing contributions to my life. And they'll make sure I'll do it right - with cake.
And that’s something worth looking forward to each year!