I came across a blog where a woman wrote, My husband says making birthdays a big deal gives children a misguided sense of entitlement. I was only about half-way through the post, but I stopped reading and clicked out. That sentence conjured memories from my own childhood and it only hardened my resolve that EVERYONE’S day of birth should be celebrated with zeal.
As I’ve mentioned, my parents divorced when I was nine. Prior to my dad leaving, I had a fairly functional childhood with a nice home, food, decent clothes, pets, and even birthday parties. Not the kind of parties a lot of parents give their kids today, but parties where many family members came over to eat homemade cake and sing Happy Birthday. Those days of celebrating were diminished by dysfunctional adults who selfishly thought NOT making my birthday a big deal would somehow save them time and money, never giving thought to what it would cost MY self-esteem.
I got to the point where I didn’t even want my birthday acknowledged because I didn’t feel I deserved it. When someone, like my dad for instance, gave me a gift and wished me Happy Birthday, I was ecstatic, but I suppressed those spontaneous emotions due to all the years of feeling unworthy. I was less-than and how dare I expect anyone wish ME happiness on MY own day!
After years of therapy, I began to see what damage had been done to my psyche and I embarked on my self-healing journey. It was difficult, because for years, I ignored my birthday or if someone brought it up, I would say, thanks, but it’s no big deal. NO BIG DEAL! Can YOU imagine YOUR child saying that to YOU? It saddens me when I think of it today.
It took me until my B-I-G 4-0 to finally realize I AM worthy. That I am important and I deserve for people—my family and friends, to not only acknowledge the day I was born, but exalt it! Ever since, and it’s been six years now, I accept, acknowledge, and celebrate the day of my birth.
Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t EXPECT gifts, because the best gift I could ever receive is the love and support of my family and friends (however, I will be honest, I do LIKE presents!).
When I read that mother say that the father of her children doesn’t think birthdays should be a big deal, I felt my stomach lurch and my heart skip a beat. How could a MOM ever NOT make a big deal of the day she brought her child into this world? How could any MOM listen to a man’s delusional thought process that by celebrating the day your child was born it will somehow make him feel entitled?
I understand there are families that don’t want to shower their children with tons of gifts. I get it. What’s wrong with hugs and kisses, a cake and a song? It just makes me feel very sad. Sad for THAT family and what those children will be missing because their father has a misguided moral compass and sad that their mother won’t stick up for them. I’ve always made my sons’ birthdays special, and of course, my husband helped, but had he not, well, let’s just say he wouldn’t have been able to stop ME from fussing over MY children.
When they wake up I happily shout, Happy Birthday, and I hug and kiss them. I attach helium balloons to our mail box so everyone that drives by our house knows there is someone inside who is celebrating the day they were born! When my boys were little, we had parties, but now that they are teenagers, we take them to a birthday dinner, restaurant of their choice, and spend QUALITY time with them. Then we come home and sing Happy Birthday to a homemade cake. Most times we are accompanied by other members of our family—Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and/or Grandparents.
My actions toward my sons’ birthdays does NOT give them a misguided sense of entitlement. It does, however, make them FEEL special, and rightfully so. EVERYONE should feel special on the day of their birth!
So, please, even if you don’t buy a gift or give out balloons…be sure to acknowledge the birthdays of those you love and care about. Let them know with a phone call, a card, a text or a big hug and a Happy Birthday, so they are aware that YOU believe the day of their birth truly is a blessing!