Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You say it's your birthday!

It’s my birthday – and I’ve reached that milestone of 40 but still feel as though I’m floundering away in my 20’s, wondering if I’m ever really going to grow up, have a mature outlook on life and be able to write with confidence and grace. Maybe when I’m 60 I’ll be able to say I’ve achieved some of these goals.

Anyway, this post isn’t meant to be about me – it’s about the way I choose to celebrate my birthday. Every year, on my birthday, I send my mom flowers. She’s the one who deserves the congratulations, the praise and the warm wishes. After suffering through nausea, swollen ankles, heartburn, weight-gain, mood swings and unnatural food cravings for nine plus months, I arrived – an adorable bundle of joy. Even though I was a couple of weeks late, kept her up at all hours of the night, deprived her of sleep and took away all her freedoms as an individual, she loved me before she even got to know me.

My sister holding me - I don't seem to have a baby picture of me with my mom. 
My mom introduced me to my first loves in life: imaginative play, books, movies, and music. As a teenager, she bribed me to do the laundry by offering me a new book to read every weekend. We spent countless hours watching classic movies such as “The Sound of Music” or “My Fair Lady”. She rarely told us to turn the music down – quite often she would be the one to turn it up, providing we were listening to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison or Meat Loaf. Without her influence, who knows what might have happened?

Without fail, she is the first person I turn to when I need advice. Whether I’m cooking, removing stains, writing a book or trying to figure out my own children, my mom’s insights are always welcome, even if I don’t acknowledge them in the moment. She has a wealth of knowledge, family traditions and bits of insights that come from being aware and accepting of the world around her. I like to think I’m a bit like that – open to new ideas, and accepting of everyone.

I don’t think celebrating my mom once a year, on Mother’s Day, is sufficient. When our children are young, we shower them with gifts and privileges on their birthdays, letting them know how much we love and cherish them. As an adult, I think it’s important to return that love to our own parents – and what better way to do that than to acknowledge them on your own birthday?

So – Mom – from my heart to yours, Happy Birthday.


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