I love the celebration of things. Taking the time to cherish, honor and celebrate that specific time of year. Whether it’s a grand opening of something, a good grade on a test, an anniversary, or in this case – a birthday . . . I just love the festivities that come with specific moments of life, including when you are celebrating others.
While I was married, I made a point to celebrating the little things. But thinking about it now, I realized that I celebrated in hopes to get the same in return. I wanted so bad to receive some sort of attention from him, that I celebrated his moments in hopes that he would celebrate mine when the time came. Unfortunetly, my attempts failed. He was so invested in his own being that he never celebrated my moments and in turn, I began to feel unimportant, not worth the hassle, not worth celebrating.
As the years passed by, and year after year, event after event, it all ended with me being crushed at the feeling of expectations being shattered and then blaming it on myself – that maybe I just wasn’t worth it. “Why should he celebrate me? My accomplishment wasn’t worth the festivity.” And without realizing it, my soul began to shriveled into its self, not wanting to be seen, not wanting to be noticed and not wanting to speak – while keeping a hard exterior that could be shattered with one single push. Only thing was, that no one noticed – not even myself.
Now, I’m in my 30s, single, divorced, and a mom of a 3 year old with a birthday that suddenly, without even the slightest notice – showed up….yet again. The thought of taking yet another step deeper into my 30s doesn’t really bother me. A lot of people, especially women, dread birthdays after 30s or even 40s, but not me. I don’t mind. What I was dreading was turning 33 by myself. My family and friends live out of town, my son is only three and sure, I have coworkers – but no one to really make the day just a little special for me or to make it feel like it had a slight different energy then the rest.
The weeks approaching my birthday crept closer and closer and I began to feel that heaviness in my stomach, until, on April 11th, at 5am, I woke up to start what I thought would be just another day although, it was the day I came into the world, 33 years ago.
The day began just like any other and without any expectations, but as it progressed, the energy around me did change. My coworkers celebrated my day with fresh cookies from a local bakery – a small gesture that not only filled that empty feeling in my stomach with sugar, but that also brought a smile to my face. My social media filled with best wishes from people that I hadn’t spoken to in a while but have so many memories of joy and laughter with. I received sweet phone calls and texts messages that made me feel that for at least that day, I was noticed. But what really changed my day was my son.
That morning, I told him it was my birthday which he quickly asked “is there cake?” – cause of course, what 3 year old doesn’t associate birthdays with cake ? . . . I mean, I’m 33 and I still do. And I casually blew off the question as I distracted him by getting him dressed for the day because no, we didn’t have a cake – we weren’t going to even acknowledge the day.
At 6pm, I picked him up at school and as I walked the hallways his teachers wished me happy birthday and as I finally arrived in his classroom, I realized, “Wait. How do they know it’s my birthday? I didn’t tell any of them.” That’s when one of them said “Oh, since this morning he’s been telling all of us and his friends that it’s mommy’s birthday and you guys were going to eat cake together.”
I knew I loved that kid! That comment absolutely melted my heart. This child, loves me so deeply that he continues to think about me throughout his busy pre-k day. Even as he’s playing with his friends, creating art projects, expanding his vocabulary or playing outside – this child loves me so much that mommy is even in his thoughts throughout the day.
Right then and there, I realized that this day was very different – today I realized that I am noticed. I’m noticed every day by the one little person that brings me so much joy in my life – and heck, I bring him joy too! He warms my heart with his sweetness, lightens my load with laughter, and keeps me moving forward by just being himself. In his little head, I’m celebrated every day and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate that from him. I know that I do things for him on a daily basis, but what he gives me every day doesn’t come close to what I try to offer him.
On the other hand – maybe he was just working me for some cake. 🙂 Either way . . . we had cake for dinner that day.