Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is my nephew, Jonathan’s, sixth birthday. Remembering his birthday has really got me thinking about the whole business of birthdays. Personally, I love birthdays, especially mine. It seems like you wait all year for your special day and you are possessive of it as if that day was created specifically to pay homage to all that is you. Of course, everyone has to wait all year for their birthday, however, they are not important because, when it comes to birthdays, nobody’s birthday matters like yours does.

A very famous Latin writer, named Sandra Cisneros, wrote a memoir titled, “Eleven”, about birthdays. It is one of the vignettes in the book, The House On Mango Street. In this memoir, she describes how when she turned eleven, she was really also ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one. This might seem like a bizarre and difficult concept to understand but, if you think about it, it really makes a lot of sense. No matter what age you are, you still continue to be all the ages that you have been in the past. You still have a frightened three year old inside you. You still have a rebellious sixteen year old somewhere in there. It’s as if every experience and every birthday make you the person that you are currently.

Of course, some people do not prescribe to this whole business of acknowledging that birthdays somehow enrich us every year. There are people who anticipate their birthday with apprehension and disdain. For them, this day symbolizes another year further away from their youth and closer to their senior years. They are not interested in celebrating that they are now another year wiser and stronger and would rather forget about this whole day. Perhaps, as Cisneros would have us believe, this is the two year old inside them having a tantrum at getting old. Maybe they have a much deeper connection to this rite of passage than they would have you think or that they even believe themselves.

Mothers have a completely different take on birthdays. We were actually present when someone entered the world. You never really understand the magnitude of what it means to celebrate a birthday until you are an active participant in someone else’s birth. To see our children blossom from infancy to adulthood is most certainly a cause for celebration in a world of uncertainties. It is only at this time that our children’s birthdays surpass the importance of our own birthdays to us. As mothers, when we look at our children, we immediately understand the message that Cisneros was trying to convey. They might be turning seven but we can remember when they were six, five, four, three, two, and one.

Some religions don’t even allow for celebration of birthdays. They feel that every single day should be a celebration of someone’s life. Maybe they even think that it is narcissistic for someone to be the center of attention on any given day. I personally think that is hogwash. Everyone should have a day where they feel special and others pay special attention to them. We spend enough time, throughout our lives, wandering about anonymously as we go back and forth about our lives. Let us all have one day when we can make a wish and blow out the candles. Remember, the five year old inside of you still believes that wishes come true, as long as you don’t tell anyone your wish. Shhhhhh…

© 2009, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

Speak Your Mind

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.