In just 2 days I am having a birthday. Not a big celebratory milestone, just a passage of my thirty-eighth year on this lovely planet. As a child birthdays were very big in my home. Members of our family were expected to all purchase cards, gifts and create hoopla worthy of a month’s prior excitement build-up. I would make countdown calendars and dream up what sparkly bauble or expensive trinket would arrive in my hands. But, alas many birthdays exciting as they may have been, never met or exceeded my tremendous expectations. It wasn’t for lack of effort on my family’s part, it was for lack of realistic expectation on my own childish self.
As I got older and birthdays passed being cool to celebrate with parties and splendor, it was then time for my boyfriends or best girlfriends to make my day feel ‘special’. With fancy dinners, trips downtown to an off broadway show and finally, many a sparkly bauble; still birthdays felt too contrived, too materialistic and too much hype.
I have never enjoyed being the center of attention. I do not know what to do with all that fawning over me and other’s love being worn on the sleeve. Middle children are born to squeeze in under the radar, we were not born to be fussed over. Perhaps this is why birthdays always made me well, sad.
In the past fifteen plus years I have been blessed with children, birthdays have taken on new meaning for me. Celebrating the birth of my own child is a beautiful gift and I cherish their own birth day full of memories and happiness for all they have accomplished so far. My own birthday has become about allowing my children and my husband the opportunity to shower me with whatever silly, affectionate or loving things they can come up with, no expectations necessary.
This year, as I inch closer to the top of the hill, I have a new feeling about birthdays. Maybe it’s odd, but I feel this tremendous need to give gifts to those who enhance my life and create my years on this earth spectacular everyday. I want to show gratitude to my own parents, who have given me the gift of life and cultivated me into who I am becoming everyday. I want to give thanks to my children for allowing me the ability to be the very best version of me, so far, so that I can represent them well. They have taught me the value of seeing things for the first time, taking it all in and not being so darn in a rush to grow up. I want to buy gifts and give cards to my wonderful husband for having tremendous patience with me and showing me what unconditional love truly feels like – despite my craziness, my drama and my woman-ness, he still accepts me regardless. I want to shout from the rooftops that I am so tremendously gifted with the very best of friends. My girl friends (and I include my sisters in my girlfriends) are the absolutely most supportive group of women I have ever met. They have held my hand while I’ve cried, laughed at my not so funny mistakes and pretended that they actually value my opinion (which makes me feel really important 🙂
When my children begged me to know what I wanted this year and I answered, nothing, I wasn’t just saying that and hoping for a diamond necklace. I really do not want for anything else. I need to thank G-d for the tremendous, amazing and gifted life these nearly 38 have been. If I could just ask for no more crow’s feet and a few less pounds, I would accept those gifts 🙂
Here’s to many more celebrations for all….