Happy Birthday to me!
I turn 26 this weekend and in light of this, I've been thinking about birthdays and why we celebrate them and how we celebrate them.
Growing up we had a tradition, on your birthday you got to pick what was for dinner. It could be your favorite homemade meal or any fast-food you wanted (fast food was a rare "treat" in our house for much of my childhood) or I think even hometown buffet was an option(eating out anywhere else wasn't something we did- EVER). I typically opted for McDonalds and then, as I outgrew happy meals, Pizza Hut.
My mom would bake your favorite cake, or once we discovered ice-cream cakes, you could pick one out. And after dinner and cake we might have a present or two. And that was our birthday.
It is a simple tradition that I happen to love. I want to carry it on and keep birthdays small and simple. I see many parents overwhelmed by the need to throw big elaborate parties (each one more extravagant than the last) and spending a fortune on one day of fun for their preschooler who won't remember half of it, and who would be just as happy, I imagine, with their favorite food and some cake.
Now, there isn't anything wrong with having a big party if you are so inclined and your child is of the personality not to be overwhelmed by it and you have the means to do so, but it shouldn't be something you do because you feel like you're "supposed to."
To this day, good food and some quality time with my immediate family are all I really want for my birthday. I have fond memories and do not feel like I missed anything by having simple birthdays.
Since my birthday happens to fall in autumn and is right around pumpkin picking time, my husband and I have been tagging on a tradition of going to the pumpkin patch(he actually proposed on my birthday at a pumpkin patch.. but that's a story for another day) as part of our quality time for my birthday.
So these things answer the question of how we celebrate. But why? Why am I doing these things? Is it really all about me and what I want? I mean, shouldn't my mom be the one getting presents and cake(she did the work of actually birthing me)?
Suprisingly, the first thing that popped up on my online search, really summed up nicely the why I was going to point to. I was actually searching for more of a history of birthday celebrations to then lead into my point, but the quote was there so.."A birthday is a time to celebrate birth itself. It is an expression of thanks to God for being born and still being alive."
So to God I give thanks for this life and that I get to celebrate it by living fully and enjoying family time.
And then, especially since it's respect life month, I will reflect on the miracle of birth. And the beautiful design of life. And maybe, rather than making a wish this year, I'll pray for all the unborn and their mothers that they will recognize the value of their lives and choose life. I'll take time to be kinder to others and remind myself that life is a beautiful gift, and all lives matter. In doing so, I will be saying Happy Birthday to me.