Do You Birthday?


(My fifth birthday. We were quite the crew.)


Let’s pretend I didn’t use “birthday” as a verb, and move on, okay? It’s weirdly appropriate in this case, but I know such a slip can be triggering for my grammar-faithful friends.

Husband’s birthday was this week, and he wasn’t in a great mood. In fact, he didn’t really want to celebrate his birthday much at all. As an adult, he gets to choose how his birthday wants to be. Except…Well, I find it hard to understand why a celebration might not be a good thing in a dark time.

My sisters and I were allowed two birthday parties as kids, at ages five and…I want to say ten. (Though I recall having birthday sleepovers later on.) We weren’t a pony-ride and bouncy-house type family. In fact, few families were up until the last decade or so. But the parties were memorable, with birthday hats and cake and games, which usually devolved into outdoor free-for-alls until the parents came to retrieve their kids. Among kids, birthday invitations were liable to be rescinded or bestowed depending on the mood of the kid holding the party. Plans were made and unmade, alliances were formed. It was all so serious. Such drama! Is it any wonder that some adults would just rather not bother?

Still, I believe we need celebrations. Keeping one’s head down, sticking to the routine, ad nauseam, becomes truly…nauseating. Everyone needs to feel special sometimes, or else we simply become drones. Does that sound too precious? I would say it’s only human.

Birthdays are a chance to celebrate each other just for existing. It’s as simple as that. I’ve heard all the arguments about it just being another day in the year, another trip around the sun. Who cares? But I would argue that if we stop taking moments to allow ourselves to be celebrated, we will stop celebrating others as well. How do you feel when someone goes beyond Facebook to wish you a Happy Birthday, or to see how you’re doing? There’s still a huge greeting card industry out there. I find that heartening. Even just the acknowledgement inherent in a card is a lovely thing. It tells us that someone took time to select it, sign it, and send it. That takes time and effort. What a lovely gift of someone’s time.

I used to be more creative about celebrations. I took advantage of days like Groundhog Day. And I adore Valentine’s Day (not Galentine’s Day–that drives me nuts). The first day of school. The last day of school. The last day of summer. Any excuse was an excuse for a celebration. But, really, I wasn’t celebrating Groundhogs, or school, or summer. Celebrations are about people. About looking into their hearts to see where their joy lies, and helping that joy grow.

If you don’t celebrate yourself, I understand. Many of us have been trained to think it’s a selfish act. But it’s not selfish. It’s human. So go forth and celebrate your favorite human, just because he or she is there. Celebrate, even if it’s just you. You are important. You are unique.


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2 thoughts on “Do You Birthday?”

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    What a precious picture: Birthdays, holidays, celebrations!!! I am talking from two sides of my mouth or with forked tongue: I was an only child, and my parents celebrated EVERY OCCASION; birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays and National Holidays; but they were “over the top!’ When I got married, my husband’s family ( huge, extended group) also celebrated and, once again, over the top—There was a clash of cultures and methods. My family was tiny, Eastern European, and tres BOHO; my in-laws were here since the 1600s and Anglo-Saxon; they partied hard and I was caught in the middle trying to please everyone. I only wanted to be alone with my husband and children ( that didn’t go over). I hoped for an end to the craziness of holiday time ( EASTER was MY celebration and it was very nice)——–Sadly, I got my wish; My in-laws passed away at very young ages, then my Dad, and other family members: However, when mother and husband died within a month of one another; my children moved away to different states, and now I would cut off my arm to go back to past and celebrate each and every holiday. We should celebrate everything, Laura.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Young people often have a hard time knowing what will be meaningful to them when they’re older. (I was no exception) Hold your memories close. Big hugs. 💜

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