There's nothing happier than waking up to your kids with a big present in tow. With the help of their dad, Madeleine and Carter bequeathed me with a shiny red tea kettle, yummy knee socks and a journal that made me smile. Today is my 42nd birthday, and I am so happy.
Birthdays are tender times for parents. You spend so much time worrying about your kids--from their own birth days (remember all those books you read and how much you wanted their entrance to the world to be just right?) to their actual parties year after year after year. There's not a mother in America who hasn't agonized over her kid's special day, hoping everything will be just right.
You spend so much time focused on your kids that by the time it is your birthday, it's hard to drum up the energy to make it matter for yourself. Don't get me anything, you want to say. Pleeeaase...do not go to any trouble. But these are requests we make out of the memory of our own effort. We don't want anyone to take on the burdens we take to let others know we love them and that they are special--especially when it comes to us.
But learning how to let the love in and making space for the extra trouble is as nourishing to our kids as all the parties we throw and the extreme measures we take to let them know we care. When we collapse down our opportunities to receive, we also fold up like an accordion their capacity to give. It's important for them to register and understand that they have a part to play in the acknowledgment of our efforts, but more importantly the ways we sacrificially love. They need a chance to say and show and display the ways they see us and recognize the gifts we always bring.
I am feeling blessed today that my kids have a dad who understands this and who is committed to helping them register their love in tangible, thoughtful ways. For those of you who don't, I say this is so important that it's worth teaming up with a friend who will help your kids while you in turn help hers, whenever there's a special day of yours that needs noting.
We need the love as much as our kids do, and when we can admit that and let it in, we're all the better for it.
How about you, Supersister? How do you feel when your birthday rolls around? Are you celebrated in your house? Do you care? Share your experience in the comments below.