Birthday Wishes Granted

I had a great birthday this past weekend. It wasn’t because I of the lavish gifts I received or an expensive night out on the town. It was great because I got exactly what I wanted, which was to be remembered by my friends and family. And that gave my spirit an incredible boost.

Does a person ever outgrow their desire to feel special or honored? I don’t think so. After all, isn’t this what Mother’s Day is about? It is about taking time to say, “You’re important to me and what you do and who you are matters.”

However, while this is the message of Mother’s Day, the celebration of it always feels somewhat forced. Designating the second Sunday in May as the day to honor mothers seems like a creation of the greeting card industry. Going out for Mother’s Day brunch? As a mother, I’d appreciate it more if someone in the house just took it upon themselves to empty the dishwasher or start a load of laundry.

But when my birthday comes around in September, I crave having some fuss made over the day. And this year, I ended the day feeling very satisfied.

Steve set the tone by asking me early in the month what I wanted for my birthday. After a little bit of thought, I told him I wanted to pick out a new purse. I’m sure I would have replaced my slightly ratty purse in the next couple of months even if I hadn’t gotten a new one as a birthday present, but because he knows that celebrating my birthday is important to me, he made a point of letting me know the date was highlighted on his calendar and that it would not pass by unnoticed.

And my daughters gave me handmade cards. I love getting them but not because they have spent hours laboring over them. I enjoy them because they are spontaneous expressions of themselves. Valerie draws silly cat caricatures and Jennifer writes sentiments with puns about aging.

In the past, my 20-year-old son, Ethan, was very willing to take me at my word that celebrating Mother’s Day wasn’t really important to me, but for the first time, he shopped and picked out the ideal birthday gift for his worry-prone mom. I didn’t miss the irony of the calming candles and “Relax and De-stress” CD that he gave me; he’s hoping that will get me off his case about those essays for the college applications ““ but I loved it.

After a day of shopping with my daughters ““ also one of my favorite things to do ““ I came home to several phone messages letting me know that my friends and family were thinking about me on my birthday. All five of us ate dinner together. That Costco Chicken Parmigiana was darn good. And any meal that I don’t have to cook or clean up after feels like a celebration.

What more could I want? A couple of more years like this and I might actually start looking forward to birthdays.

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