Life, Marking Birthdays, Relationship

Marking Birthdays

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was a girl, my parents always threw us fun birthday parties. There weren’t fancy. We usually invited neighbor kids and relatives over to celebrate the birthday girl (I come from a family of three girls). Some years, we hung a piñata in the beams that supported the roof over our patio. All the kids took turns whacking the airborne candy dispenser until sweets spilled out onto the ground. We ran all crazy in our large back yard, wearing ourselves out. Then, we’d eat cake and ice-cream, open presents and run wild some more. I loved our parties and how my parents marked our birthdays as special.

Having celebrated over forty of these annual holidays, I’ve come to a conclusion about birthdays. There are at least three kinds of people in the world. The first are those who love to celebrate big. They’re not shy about broadcasting their birthday and reveling in all the good wishes. They love being the center of attention, having parties and celebrating.

The second are those who don’t want a big deal made about their (hands circling the mouth and whispering) birthday. They don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they own a new age. Or perhaps they don’t want attention drawn to themselves. Whatever the reason, they don’t mind if this day is treated like any other.

I fall into the third category. I don’t want all eyes on me for the day. Please, please don’t take me to Red Robin (don’t get me wrong—I love their food) and tell them it’s my birthday. The last thing I want is a restaurant full of strangers singing, “Happy Birthday” to moi. But, I like the day to be marked by those close to me. Somehow. It doesn’t have to be big. Giving me the night off from cooking supper by going out to eat instead. Or, flowers. Something that marks the day as special.

In discovering this about myself, I’ve realized I desire the affirmation that I matter to those who share my life most intimately. Call it a cry for significance. Am I selfish for wanting this? I hope not.

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Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The other thing I have grappled with is the fact that my wonderful husband falls into the second category of birthday person. Birthdays were not a big deal when he was growing up. We “do” birthdays differently. I’m learning to be content with how he rolls with birthdays (low key), and he’s learning how to help me mark this day. That is truly a most wonderful gift—understanding our differences, knowing and catering to each other’s desires and loving it.

Birthday cake anyone?

What about you? Which type of birthday person are you? Is there another kind of birthday person? What were/are some of your birthday traditions?

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16 thoughts on “Marking Birthdays”

  1. That made me laugh. I’m a steer clear of Red Robin person too 🙂 It is so lovely to be remembered by those you love 🙂 I especially love celebrating my kids on their birthdays. I have one friend who is awesome with birthday. The whole family takes the day from work or school and they make it a whole day party, so sweet. Happy Birthday! I’m so glad to know you 🙂

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    1. I like Red Robin, but I do my best to steer clear of it on my birthday. 😉 I’m with you, Lisa. I love celebrating my kids. We don’t do a lot of big stuff, including big parties, but we definitely mark their days. That’s neat that your friend’s family takes the day off to celebrate together! I have a friend whose husband takes the day off to spend with her on her birthday. Thanks for the birthday wishes. 🙂 I’m so glad we “met” too!

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  2. One of the most significant gifts God gave me was a daughter, a most precious child to be born on my birthday. God celebrates birthdays too ~ for and with us. Happy Birthday yesterday my birthday daughter! :))

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    1. Thanks, Mom. I love that we share a birthday! Even if you did determine I’d be born on a different day. I guess God’s plans rule, eh? 😉 I hope your birthday was wonderful.

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    1. Jennifer, why am I NOT suprised? 😉 I love having friends like you, because then I can just join in their celebrating. You don’t strike me as a “Me me me” girl. 🙂

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  3. I LOVE celebrating my birthday and will unashamadely tell strangers when it’s the big day. However, I don’t think anyone should ever be subjected to the waitstaff of a restaurant singing to them. That’s just weird. Now-the entire high school wrestling team on the other hand–that’s good stuff. (My dad was the coach and it was my 16th. Too bad none of those boys had the nerve to ask coach’s daugher out on a date!)

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    1. Sarah, I love this! The entire wrestling team?! Wow.Talk about unforgettable. 😉 Maybe it’s a good thing none of them had the nerve to ask your father for a date with you. 🙂 I’m going to guess you ended up with the right man for you. 😉 I’ll keep your birthday in mind and shout it out for you, okay?

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  4. We always had a rule growing up (and carries forward into adulthood) — “Don’t embarrass me, and I won’t embarrass you” — We’re both definitely in the third group like you Jeanne, we want it fun, but not at Red Robin. We’ll sometimes GO to Red Robin on our birthday (though they’re rather far away now), but it’ll never be mentioned that it’s someone’s birthday 🙂

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    1. I like that family rule. 🙂 As a parent, we’re learning that the boys are embarrassed by the most innocuous things. So we are learning what it looks like with 8 1/2 and 10 year old boys. 🙂

      I’m glad to know others in the third category of birthday people. I’ve never even gone to Red Robin on my birthday, but Edmund (our youngest boy) has. And, he’s eaten ice-cream at 9:00 a.m. there. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Gabe!

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  5. Such good insights here, Jeanne — both of yourself and your husband (and your marriage). You and your husband are modeling the whole “this is how birthdays are celebrated” to your boys … and creating your new traditions for them.

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    1. Grinning. Yes, my honey and I are figuring it out, year by year. Part of what I’m learning is to express my desires to him, you know? Thankfully, I have a man who’s willing to listen, and I’m learning how to roll his way for birthdays. 🙂

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  6. Happy birthday, my dear friend! May the Lord bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you and pour out His peace during the coming year. You are and have always been such a blessing to me!

    Alas, I fall into the 1st group. I couldn’t understand why my husband wouldn’t stand up on his chair (as requested by the waiter) and wave his napkin around while the staff sang “Happy Birthday” to him one year at On the Border. Give me that napkin! 🙂

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    1. Melanie, you make me laugh. 🙂 You have a “Number 2” husband too. And I can totally see your husband shrinking into his chair, hand on forehead wondering WHY he ever thought OTB was a good idea. 🙂 Thanks for the grins.

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