I recently celebrated a birthday.
I hadn’t been that excited about my birthday for the past couple years now. It just seemed like another day on the calendar. It’s not that I frown about my growing age number. I’m in the 50 plus age group now. I don’t mind my 50 plus status. Really, I don’t.
I think it had more to do with my view of myself and the value or worth I felt.
What is a birthday?
Is it really about the gifts, the Hallmark Card (not knocking Hallmark, love their cards), the cake, the candles, or the Happy Birthday song? Is it the Facebook post, the text or the other social media recognition we get?
Realistically, we know what a birthday is. It is the day someone was born. It is the day that someone, their mother, gave birth to them. It is the day they became human and independent of their mother’s womb, nutrients. It is a day in which we hope was a time of rejoice for our mother, father and extended loved ones as they welcomed our birth.
But I think there is more.
We know that not everyone celebrates birthdays in the same way or for that matter, celebrates them at all. Here in America, we seem to say the words so easily as if it is an automatic response, like “God Bless You” when someone sneezes. But do we really value the sincerity of the message we are sharing?
I shared my birthday with my great grandmother up until I was 19 years of age. We had nearly 60 years between us. I enjoyed sharing my birthday with my great grandmother and she seemed to enjoy sharing hers with me.
More often, it made me feel special; but every once in a while, I took a back seat to my great grandmother. As a child, I didn’t always understand and sometimes had trouble processing it. It felt like someone was placing value on us as one being more important than the other.
For the last three birthdays, I began to share my birthday with a coworker. I was excited to be able to share my birthday again. But I think my coworker, at first, felt cheated that she, a senior employee, had to now share her birthday with me. And again I had that feeling, like we were being pitted against each other. Who is more important. Who is more likable. I don’t like nor do well with these scenarios. I usually retreat within.
When we care about someone, whether it is our child, our spouse, a sibling, a parent, a dear friend or loved one, telling them Happy Birthday is telling them that they matter, they are special to us, and we are happy they were born on this day.
Last year, I was able to celebrate the birthday of my youngest son with him for the first time since he was born. I’ve talked to him on his birthday. I’ve sent him birthday gifts over the years. Our families have even visited within a week or so of his birthday while also celebrating Christmas. But, I have not seen my son Noah, face to face, on his actual birth day since the day I gave birth to him.
It was truly something special.
To be able to light the candles on his cake, sing Happy Birthday and show him how happy I am that he was birthed on this day. It all meant a great deal to me.
I love my sons. I love being able to tell them and show them how happy I am that I gave birth to them. How happy I am that they are here. How proud I am when I look at them and see what an amazing job my body did in creating and birthing these beautiful human beings. I think that is what a birth day signifies.