Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“Even for grownups, birthdays are important!”

[Spoiler Alert: Hard truths about Santa and the Tooth Fairy exposed in this post].

This is a direct quote from my older son - not the spoiler alert (that would be alarming), but the title of today's post. Yesterday morning, like any other morning, was a whirlwind of getting ready for work and preschool. D is traveling for work, and I just got back from a trip for work (it was great, btw – a blurr of eating, greeting and conference rooms – but great nonetheless). Even with my fantabulous mother (Grammy) in town to help with the gaps in childcaring and to smooth the household road, I am still feeling behind the eight ball in terms of almost everything.

BUT, even with all of that, yesterday was my birthday. And the above quote from H was registered in protest to the fact that we were not having a birthday celebration at breakfast. This is how we start birthday celebrations for our boys, so the fact that we were not having a special breakfast for mommy was very upsetting for H. To be honest, birthday celebrations for the boys tend to go on and on. We start with the special birthday breakfast and then have a special birthday dinner (and they choose the foods for each of these, which is always interesting…). I tell them the story of their birth. Then there is, of course, a family party, a friends party, and this year, for the first time, we had a “big” party for H’s 5th at a special location of his choice. And, since none of our family lives in the Midwest, we also celebrate as presents trickle in from Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, etc. As a result of all of these things, the boys’ birthdays are big deals and last a lengthy amount of time. Hence the shock from Henry that we were not doing the same for my birthday.

Now, I am just not much of a birthday person. For me, it is a nice day and I try to do something nice for myself, and this year a wonderful friend took me out for lunch. My husband does something nice (a present or a treat), or we have a date night in order to celebrate – but it is almost never on my actual birthday. My parents call me, my mom recollects my protracted birth. In fact, until this year, I never listed my birthday on facebook – though I did love all the love I got this year because I listed the date (though heaven forbid the year!). I like to let it trip by without a big fanfare. It is not the age thing – though this is becoming more shocking each year – it’s just not a big deal.

Okay, so what did I learn from children on this one?

It is important to celebrate my birthday (and my husband D’s birthday) because it is important to our children. For H, his birthday is a date that we make special beyond all others, so we need to mark our adult birthdays too. There are many things that we make special in childhood that we leave behind as adults – Santa or the tooth fairy, are a few examples – but the joys of those traditions live on when we have children. There are few things I love more than getting my kids geared up for Santa. To be honest, before I had kids (wa wa wa) I thought the whole Santa mythology was sort of not good for kids. Now I live for that barely contained excitement the night before Christmas – an unknown, fat, red-clad man in our house with gifts and a reindeer too boot! How insane! But I digress – back to birthdays. Celebrating our birthdays is important to our children, so it needs to be important for us too. So get out your party hats!

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