The Old Birthday Switch-a-roo
Today my teeny, tiny baby turned three. Okay, she's never been teeny or tiny-- she entered this world a whoppin' 9.3 pounds at a week early-- but no matter how old your child gets, he or she will always be your baby (cue the Mariah Carey song to be stuck in your head now. You're welcome.) And a child's birthday is something extra special to parents, especially mothers, in my opinion.
Growing up, birthdays were simply magical. I thank my mom for making my and my siblings birthdays so special-- we didn't just have birthdays, we had birthday seasons. I can't recall any one amazing gift I got for any of my birthdays before I was a teenager, but I remember how they felt. I remember who I was with and where we were. I remember feeling special, loved, and valued. Birthdays were a special day where the people that loved me got together to celebrate me. That's a huge, overwhelming feeling when you're a child. I'll never forget the birthday where my mom made a homemade Barbie doll cake, planned a whole scavenger hunt with special clues on individual hidden pieces of paper, hid a treasure chest full of prizes, invited over 10 of my closest friends for a dress-up only party in the middle of August (I will soon be writing a post about dress up/cocktail parties and their importance), prepared all the food to feed parents and kids, planned other activities and crafts, and did so before Pinterest was even an idea, much less the internet an actual thing (I'm aging myself here... I assure you I'm only 20 😅). Again, birthdays were magical as a kid. I was dressed up like Victorian royalty, sent on a quest to uncover treasure with my bestest of friends, and at the end got to eat cake and open more treasures.
|Those cheeks alone carry 3 pounds a piece|
Now, my own birthday doesn't really mean much. Don't get me wrong-- I still treat myself because, hey, you're welcome world, but it's not a huge celebration. Now it's more of a big celebration on any age that ends with an -0 or a -5. And I'm totally fine with that. Because, in truth, I now celebrate two birthdays for myself, even if I do so alone in a day filled with introspective thought and amazement.
My children's birthdays have now become something so intrinsically personal to who I am as a person, more so than my own birthday. Please don't think I'm narcissistic. I don't make their days about me, but internally, birthdays of your children are huge accomplishments. Having children is life changing (read about post-partum depression here OR about body changes here) and their birthdays are celebrations of an enormous, life-altering transition that you had to make all while celebrating them and making them feel that magic as well.
I like to call it the birthday-switch-a-roo. I swapped celebrating my birthday with celebrating my children. I spoke with my mom about it today actually and she, being the huge birthday fan that she is, admitted that birthday seasons of ALL ages are important, but that at 65 (and looking amazing, mind you) and seeing not only her children but also grandchildren on their birthdays is the most magical thing of all.
|The lady who started the magic|
It's a feeling of accomplishment. Of fulfillment. Of gratitude, joy, amazement, pride, strength, and just as magical as your own birthday when you were a kid. To see something... somebody... that you made, in all their glory, and having a day just for them. Now, that's magic. You don't love anything like you love your children. At least, I don't. So to have a day for them, and (thanks, Momma) a season, is truly special.
It really is a season, too. Actually, three seasons for a mom. You're pregnant, awaiting the arrival of this beautiful little nugget of bliss and poop, and those last couple of weeks are agonizing. You're ginormous; people are asking you if you are having twins (kindly see yourself to hell if you ask that to a 38 week-- or even 10 week-- pregnant lady); you pee more than you're able to take steps with your cankles, and while the pee pours, your poop suddenly doesn't know your name anymore and makes you backed up longer than the DMV line at noon; sleep is an absurd illusion hiding away somewhere with Tinkerbell and dragons; and dear sweet baby Jesus the pressure. Ever tried shoving a bowling ball in your mouth? No? Then have a seat and celebrate these moms' children's birthdays with me.
It's a season that the mother prepares for. Some call it nesting. But it's a season for a reason. You're preparing for your child, your progeny, to enter this world. And once he or she is here, it's not about you. Everything shifts. You transition into a mother... and at the first year birthday, you should feel like a rockstar. And every single year, or child, after that is an accomplishment. It's a milestone for you as a mother just as much as it is for a celebration for your child. Just don't make it about you!
So, I encourage you all to make your children feel as absolutely special and their birthdays as magical as possible. Because soon-- time flies once babies and children are involved-- they won't be focused on their own birthdays. They grow up. Hopefully, their focus goes into the celebration of their own children. But, sometimes the world is jading and their birthdays simply won't matter. I hope that's not the case, because every single person is important.
But, until you experience the old birthday switch-a-roo, enjoy your birthday season. Because after that, it's not about you physically, only internally. It's huge. It's who you are. But it's also who your kids are. Make it count. Make it magical. For you and for them.
Here's to these two. Keeping my life magical. Pictures are from
each of their first birthdays.