Monday, February 27, 2012

Birthday Traditions

Dear Diary,

One more year has passed for each of my baby girls... time to celebrate!  My girls' birthdays are a month apart. Eva has turned 3 and Mea is turning 5! After giving birth, I gained a whole new appreciation for BIRTHdays!  My appreciation was exponentially heightened when I was able to witness Layla, my niece come into this world.  It was indescribable...other-worldly. breathtaking. mindblowing... it left me speechless and will go down in history as the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed.  There is a deep sentiment to consider what we are celebrating on a birthday...  on this particular day, so many years ago, a miracle happened.  It is such a great reason to celebrate: LIFE!

Now the question, how do we celebrate it?  What traditions do we carry over from our own childhood.  What new traditions will we start?  Things will be ever changing but some things can stay the same.  Here is a list of 10 BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS:

A tradition that me and my siblings have is that on our own birthday, we call our mom to tell her "Thanks for having me, mom!"

Our family is a bit competitive.  We like to be the first or the last person to wish each other a happy birthday. So, even if we are fast asleep, we can expect our phone to ring at midnight with some excited voice, "Happy Birthday! Am I the first?" and then the next night... at 11:59pm, the phone will inevitably ring again. "Happy Birthday! did you think I forgot?  Nah... I just wanted to be the last one to wish you a happy birthday!"

My brother is a Detroit Fire Fighter and they love to prank each other.  If the firefighters are working on their birthday, they keep their back to the wall.  They like wish each other a happy birthday with a cream pie to the face.  

My mom is a middle school math and social studies teacher.   On most of our birthdays, she gets one of her classes to sing us happy birthday into her phone- sometimes in Arabic!  I am sure her students think this is a fun break from school work.

We decided to start a tradition this year with our girls that on the day of their birthday, we will go do something fun as an immediate family- just the 4 of us.  We let the girls chose where to go, what to eat and what fun thing we could go do (movies, chuckie cheese, crafts, ).  With the hussle and bussle of life, I loved to just be "alone" with my family.

Many years back, my Granny decided to GIVE all her children and grandchildren a GIFT on her birthday.  This serves multiple purposes.  She doesn't have to remember all of our birthdays.  We definitely remember hers.    

I  have a little book that I keep in the kitchen cabinet where I jot down funny things that happen with the girls (thanks for this habit/location recommendation Lela).  I transfer the stories and quotes over to our photobooks when I make them on the computer each year.  This year, on their birthday, I am going to add a little chart of some quantitative measurements (height, weight etc.) and a questionnaire.  I hope to make this a new tradition starting this year.   I will ask the kids a list of the same (ish) 20 questions and keep it to see how the answers change over the years.

It isn't always easy to get everyone together for family dinners.  Fortunately, we do it quite often with my in-laws.  My mother-in-law always makes a special point to have a family dinner when it is the week of someone's birthday and she gets a dessert with a candle.  Sometimes we celebrate 2 or 3 people at once depending on how the dates fall.  Sometimes we order pizza or chinese food and other times we bbq steak and shrimp... but getting everyone together is the most important part.  Last year, the week of my birthday was a particularly busy one and I almost got passed up before I made a little stink about it.  "HEY! I need someone to sing happy birthday to me!"  I think that is when I realized how special that family tradition is.

A birthday is good time to stop and reflect on all the years gone by.  It is a good time to pull out and dust off an old photo album and sit with my kids.  Looking at all the old photos, sparks my memory for the good ol' days.  I tell them stories about "when I was little".  I am a little surprised about how much my kids love these stories.  I really drag out each tale and go into gross detail about the adventures of my youth.  Inevitably, they remember all of them!  A few nights a week, they ask for a story at bed time instead of a book.  They love to try to understand the timeline where at certain times, some of my siblings weren't even born yet.... and I didn't know their Dad yet.  They ask the same questions (to which they already know the answer).  They love it... and I love it!   

Sometimes there is a stigma about growing older.  Age is just a number and youth is a frame of mind.  I love the wisdom and confidence that comes with age.  There may be no other way to achieve it than to live!  Sometimes we wonder, "What, who, where am I supposed to be at this age?!"... I am supposed to be ME! and I am thankful for my experiences/challenges and excited about the future.  Using my next birthday as place for benchmarking, I am always looking forward to it. I'll say, "when I turn 40 I am going to be in the best shape of my life!"  or "By my next birthday, I am going to learn  to  _____. "

I have a feeling that I may need to piggyback this post with more traditions when I think of them.  Tell me about your birthday traditions!

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  1. What a fun blog post!! In our family, the birthday person chooses whatever they want for dinner and eats off a plate that says "I Am Special" all day. I also have a 4 ft inflatable birthday cake that I set up in the living room! We have pictures of everybody by that cake on their birthday!

    1. MORE GREAT IDEAS! I will be on the hunt for some big obnoxious blow up thing :) Thanks Melanie :)