Lessons from a Birthday...

lessons for clara

Dear Clara, Birthday season has come upon us! In our little family of three, there is yours, then mine, then the holidays, then your father’s, and then the new year, all in a row.  And our extended family is pretty close to our timeframe too–I guess we were all fated to be together.  But the rapid succession of all our celebrations made me think of what I’d always like you to keep in mind on your own birthdays in years to come:

  • Wear something new: Even if it’s a little thing . . . there’s something about bringing something new out of the package, cutting the tags and having that new, shiny, or crisp feeling.  It just adds the right start to the day, and going forward you’ll always associate that item with the day you celebrated another year.
  • Call you parents: I never really thought of this growing up, but your birthday is actually more emotional for a parent than for the person celebrating.  It is the day, after all, that their life changed forever when you came into their world.  Don’t forget the fact that they are celebrating in their own way too.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate in your own way: When you’re younger, celebrations come easily.  There are parties, there are friends, and there are always much-ado’s about birthdays.  But as you get older, and work schedules set in, and bills need to get paid, and hundreds of other things crowd our mind, not the least of which is our uncertainty about being yet another year older, it’s easy to say that we don’t want to celebrate.  That’s bogus.  You don’t always need a big party, but do something to mark the occasion---you will be more likely to embrace the year ahead and the gifts it brings.
  • Don’t be upset if people forget your birthday: It happens.  Some people are excellent about remembering birthdays, but some people slip, despite all of their best intentions.  If someone calls late, don’t hold it against them.  Accept their good wishes for you, that’s what counts.  Someday it might be you that forgets . . . despite all of your best intentions.
  • But remember how nice it feels when people do remember: Try to be the person that remembers.  Take notes of important days, keep a calendar, set up reminders.  You might not always get it right but if you try, it’s much easier.  Think of how special it makes you feel when someone goes out of their way to call or write a card or do a surprise for your birthday, and try to be the person that does that for other people.  They will remember you for it, even if they don’t always thank you.

I wish you only the happiest of birthdays over many long years, and remember that I will be with you, in some way, for all of them.

All my love,