Our family has a longstanding birthday tradition where each member of the family shares something they like about the birthday person. We start with the youngest and work up to the oldest, which is always me… except when it’s my birthday!
This birthday tradition started when our kiddos were quite young and continued pretty regularly until they left home. The tradition started to fizzle for those kids who have moved away from home, though we would easily pick it back up when one of them was home for their birthday.
With our kiddos all grown and living all around the country, the opportunities to celebrate our tradition have been quite rare. But then the pandemic showed up. Zoom calls and Facetime became a normal part of life which opened the door to fully reviving the tradition.
Last night it was my turn.
We gathered around the proverbial table, chatted for a bit, and played a generic electronic version of Family Feud. Then the youngest, who happens to be our two-year-old grandson Corbin, started the birthday tradition. According to his mama’s translation, Corbin loves his papa and is grateful for our time together in Milwaukee.
Around the group we went, from the youngest to oldest child and then to Elisa, each sharing their love and something specific they appreciated about me. Their remarks will make their way into my journal.
IT’S GOOD TO CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY
I believe birthdays are a big deal, and not just when you are a kid. They are fun, a great excuse to celebrate and gather with family and friends. And you can’t go wrong with a day set aside to enjoy your favorite cake and flavor of ice cream (just so you know, mine is moist chocolate cake and vanilla dairy-free ice cream!).
Birthdays are also a time of reflection, especially as we grow older. Tomorrow, June 7th, I will turn 56. While I’m not a spring chicken anymore, I’m certainly not ready to cash in my chips either. Though my body tried pretty hard to cash in my chips three times this past year, with my new working heart I plan to live a healthy life to at least 149.
Birthdays are also a time for validation, to recognize other people see something great in us. Even if they don’t share something specific like our tradition, a handshake or hug and birthday wish are validating in their own right.
It’s natural to not want to celebrate our own birthdays as much as celebrate the birthdays of others. But it’s important we also allow others to celebrate us. And gratefully allow them the celebration.
Especially our children.
When we diminish the importance of our own birthdays, we also diminish in their minds the importance of their own birthdays. When we reduce the importance of such big deal moments, we risk doing the same thing to the little moments that shape the child as he or she grows into a teenager and into an adult.
A BIRTHDAY POEM
I started writing poetry over five years ago because of a birthday. Your birthday, in fact.
Thanks to Facebook, it’s easy to know when most people have a birthday. At first, I would simply offer some version of “Happy Birthday”. But I quickly reached the point I wanted to do something more personalized.
That’s when I wrote my first poem, this one right here, and started sharing it as a birthday greeting.
It’s your birthday
Yes once again
Enjoy the festivities
Put on a grin
Count the days
Celebrate in glory
Have a lot of fun
Create a better story
Life gets better
Yes every year
Happy birthday my friend
Crank up those gears!
I’ve lost count of how many poems I have written since that day. I know it’s somewhere over 400. It’s a craft I greatly enjoy. More so, I enjoy the feeling it creates for others.
I’ve written a couple birthday poems since then. Saturday, while surrounded by a couple of kiddos who came up from Salt Lake to help with yard work, I wrote this one honoring my own birthday.
First Saturday in the month of June
Planting flowers that soon will bloom
Taking a nap ‘neath the maple tree
Celebrating my birthday, don’t you see
A gift of time our kiddos gave
To help the old man, his heart to save
Grateful today it didn’t snow
Leslie and Chris, we love you so
IF I MAY…
I trust this request will not seem out of place.
Would you participate in the Patterson Family birthday tradition and share something specific you like/love about me?
Your words will touch my heart. But I really hope they will touch your heart. After all, birthdays are a big deal. Quasimodo told me so!
Have a beautiful Monday! Thanks for letting me share!
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