I don’t often post twice in one day anymore, but today I’m breaking that “rule” to share a thought that a wise family member thoughtfully shared with me today, after reading my earlier post about how I hate my birthday:
A thought for you:
Birthdays are a reminder that you are alive; alive to be who you are, who you want to be, who you want to become. Perhaps it’s being a mom, or a wife, or a daughter, or a girlfriend, or just a friend to someone who needs a friend. Maybe its all of the above.
We don’t often think of ourselves on a day-to-day basis, but we are often times thought of by someone else on a day-to-day basis. Parents wishing children happy birthday are just as much a reminder to themselves of that special day however many years ago that they were blessed. When we are so very young, the anticipation of the cake and being the “Birthday Girl” as someone so joyfully told everyone not too long ago, is important and exciting. As we grow and life takes over, the day becomes not so exciting – – we still have to get up and go to work, clean the house, cook the meal, take care of the kids — it becomes just another day so to speak.
Sometimes people saying happy birthday to us is just a reminder that we still have to do all the other things — we can’t just be “The Birthday Girl” anymore. We are so much more. But being so much more can be rewarding itself too. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments — you are: A Daughter, A Graduate, A Wife, A Mom, A Writer.
Know that when people say Happy Birthday — they are not really reminding you that you are another year older, they are saying how glad they are to have had you in their life for another year.
Because so often I don’t journey through these thought processes alone, I wanted to share this beautiful sentiment and invite you to chime in, as always, with your own wisdom.
I like both blogs because they are so honest and made me think…a lot. Never a bad thing. Each of us carries his/her own trunk of goodies that got us here so the why you hate your birthday is different than mine. But, for what it’s worth, it seems for me it has to do with somehow feeling not worthy to be singled out and called special. Even more so, I didn’t do anything to get to that day except survive…no perceived effort on my part. So I dont deserve to celebrate a random day: pretty much summed it up for me.
Over the years 2 things happened that changed my mind a little bit and I thought I would share. First, and you aluded to it in your second piece, my birthday is a reason for others to celebrate and give me the gift of being happy I was born and a part of their lives. They get to smile and give and I needed the grace to let them give. Second was reaching the age at which my father passed away suddenly. That pause, the realization that I was somehow in uncharted territory (since I always had this thing that he had been there, done that and probably better) made me really stop and think. This life I am given is not, well, a given. Each day is a challenge, a chance, a place to make a hundred choices. I was living as if I had forever. Now I see the days as eac more disctinctly unique rather than as parcels of time to get through to the next “big” event. So my birthday is a unique day now. A day for me to think and be and celebrate with those who like a good party and with whom I enjoy being. I suspect you are coming to see that too. Have a blessed year filled with God-gifted days.
I just wanted to add that I think birthdays are an opportunity and reminder to reflect with gratitude on the year God has given us. There is an Irish proverb that says, “Don’t regret growing old. Many are denied the privilege.” When I mentioned the proverb to my dad, who is never happy about his age and always appreciates the birthday card envelope I give him knocking a good 15 years or so off his real birthday, he said he recently was told in a birthday card he got that “the only thing worse than turning 57 is not reaching 58.”
Imagine for a moment you hadn’t reached that birthday. Now aren’t you glad you did? And I know some years are a lot better than others, but there are always things to be grateful for even if the most difficult of years.
As my first born……………… there is a special thing, I can’t say what, for sure, to sing to you first thing in the morning. No matter where I am or doing. You were something I thought that I might never have, a child! Your special and very much loved! dad
Amen to these wise words! I for one am so glad that you are here celebrating a birthday. It’s weird that we’ve never met except over the blogosphere as I feel I know you so well (one of these years, we’ll engineer a meeting!). And you have so many gifts — your kindness, your humility, your insight, your work ethic, your spirituality. We celebrate all of those things in celebrating you.
Hugs and hope it was a great one.
As someone who is also celebrating (and I can say that with all sincerity now 🙂 a birthday this week, this post was the answer to much heartfelt prayer! From now on, I will take into account the blessings I’ve been given through the eyes of well-wishers, and be sure to thank God for the community of friendships and loved ones that make this life not mine, but a joint effort!