When I see the birthday parties which are thrown today for kids, I am sometimes left in complete awe. Maybe birthday parties have always been like this, but when I was a child we celebrated very differently. Perhaps it was because my extended family lived so close by, but almost all of my birthday parties were family parties. We got together, had cake and ice cream, and I opened gifts. What more could you ask for, really? ~smile~
When I was eight, I had my first “friend” party at the YMCA. Though it was fun, I did not expect a big party every year; and, I really don’t feel like my development was stunted in any way. I guess we will find out. If I wind up in therapy sometime in the next decade, we’ll know that the lack of big birthday bashes scarred me after all. ~smile~
What we experience early in life is what we consider normal until we grow up and discover that the rest of the world does it differently. Since I was used to family parties, they were plenty for me. However, if one year we had completely stopped having family parties, I probably would have felt hurt. Why does no one care about my birthday anymore? <sniff, sniff>
We all want people to care about us, and birthdays are a heightened time to feel loved or forgotten. Being ignored never feels good, but being ignored on my birthday would be extraordinarily painful. I guess we are programed from an early age with the expectation that people should celebrate us on the anniversary of our birth. And, no matter how old we get, it still feels good to have people remember our birthdays. No matter how hard-hearted and cynical we get, there is still a part of us that enjoys having someone wish us a happy birthday. And when someone remembers our birthdays without having to be reminded, that is especially heartwarming!
What Birthday Traditions Matter to You?
When I was a kid, every birthday meant cake and ice cream. Big Bird made a special appearance on my cake one year. It seems like there may have been a cabbage patch kid on another of my cakes. And my fifth birthday cake (the first birthday I remember without having to rely on pictures) had a carnival theme, complete with plastic Ferris wheels.
However, as the years went by, cake seemed less important to me. In fact, when I visit my parents for my birthday, we almost never have cake anymore – and I guess I just don’t miss it. It is a tradition that was laid to rest once my childhood was over, but I am more than happy to enjoy cake at the birthday parties and weddings which I attend. ~smile~
Once adulthood finally arrived (I was one of those kids that wished away my childhood ~frown~), a new tradition emerged! My friend and I, both extreme beach lovers, began celebrating our birthdays at the beach each year. We enjoyed joining each other at the beach when we were kids (in fact, she could tell you some stories), but once we went to college and settled into new lives, it was not as easy to plan a beach trip. By God’s grace, our birthdays fall within the same week, so we have been able to meet almost every summer at the end of August or early September to celebrate with the sand and the waves – no better way to celebrate!
This tradition has become something I look forward to each year, and I would feel a great sense of disappointment if I had to miss it. A few summers ago, our beach day was interrupted by a torrential rain storm, but we just sat under the pavilion with another good friend and attempted to ride it out. The storm never completely went away, but we had a good time just the same. ~smile~ I was at the beach with friends and that’s what mattered!
What is your “must have” birthday tradition?
Spontaneity is the Name of the Game
My friend and I, we like tradition. We thrive on it. Although we do enjoy new experiences, we also like to keep some traditions sacred. But I know there are others out there who thrive on not doing something the same way twice! Are you like this? Do you consider a birthday to be awesome if you celebrate it by doing something completely new and different?
How Does Your Sweetie Like to Celebrate Birthdays?
How does your sweetie like to approach life? With reckless abandon, or with thoughtful planning? Does he feel comforted by knowing what’s coming, or does he bore easily with the same ol’, same ol’? Does she love surprises and new adventures, or does she curl up and cry when someone messes with her schedule?
It takes all kinds of people to run the world, and God created such a beautiful array of personalities. A big mistake we tend to make is treating our loved ones as if they are exactly like us. Though I am the movie lover in the family, I have purchased several DVDs for Eric as gifts throughout the years. Since I would love to open DVDs, he should love them too, right? Wrong. ~frown~ And just because I would love nothing more than to spend the whole day bobbing up and down in the ocean does not mean Eric wants to celebrate his birthday at the beach (especially since it’s in October).
Take time to really study your sweetie’s traditions, or lack of traditions! Listen to his or her birthday memories of yesteryear. Take all the information into account, and then plan something for your sweetheart’s next birthday that will show him or her you were really listening. Keep those sacred traditions going if at all possible!
Even though I’ve been married for a while now, I still have a lot to learn about my man. No matter how much you know there is always more you can learn. I should probably start thinking about Eric’s next birthday now!
What birthday traditions, if any, matter to your sweetie; and, how can you help continue those traditions?