Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Birthday Card

I used to believe in the power of Birthday's....but now I believe in the power of every day. ~ A. A. Laramore

There was a season in life where I believed that birthday's were powerful. I thought they should be celebrated, embraced and everyone around you could influence the power of that magic day. A day to embrace all that is uniquely you. I believe that for other people nowadays, not so much for myself.

I send birthday cards - often late, I let people know they are special, I search for pictures or personal items that will make them think about our connection, or sometimes, I just search for that perfect card that says it all. I can spend endless hours in Hallmark (sometimes even Walmart or Krogers) trying to find the perfect sentiment. In my reflective moods I write letters, make cards and do some scrapbook something or another. I just think that getting older I've decided - one day a year means very little in the overall scheme of things.

People should know that you care about them all throughout the year - not just one day.
I have at times had a very strained relationship with my father - and he is maybe the most prompt person regarding cards for my birthday. I get cards just about every year, as an adult, and during his "feeling more connected" seasons - he'd send a book, a check or something along those lines. I rarely used the money for myself but I do note the money goes away when he's not feeling particularly happy with something I said or did. It goes that way this year. He wrote on the card additional language and inscriptions that weren't there - and I smiled a bit when I got it. I don't believe it, but I still smiled. I also get a card from his sister, my aunt, and it arrives on time too. Funny how some things which should make you smile with glee can do the opposite. Sometimes what happens on one day a year is a reminder of what may not happen 364 days a year. No statistics needed here.

I got a birthday card from a friend who has at times been my dearest confidante and upon occassion just a flake. I love her dearly. After a few episodes of miscommunication I thought our relationship might be forever lost. She mattered enough to try again, and I'm so glad I did. When her card arrived I didn't even read the card part - she had written a 2 page letter that made my heart sing. We have a lot in common - and many differences as well. The one thing that we have always shared is the love of snail mail. I was more excited to see her handwriting than anything else in my mail box, and her card was more about the possibility of relationships than the limits of one day a year. I was so glad I read it last.

Birthday's aren't completely lost on me. My children are my biggest joy in that arena. I have had rocket birthday's, ballet and princess fanfare, a ladybug luncheon, and a sports party that was out of this world. At every turn I was tickled by the squeals of glee - some were elaborate, others not more than a cake and time with family and friends. We've done superheroes, 1 buddy at the science center, but all of that means very little in the bigger scheme of life - it is one day. The true celebration of life is in the living of it each day. When I think about that, my children will always know the importance of celebrating each other - but it won't be tied to 1 anything. This smile could carry me for another year.

We celebrate the love of each other in the big and the small, in peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches, in big dates out, in Superbowl celebrations with a small screen t.v. I am blessed that my children won't define their relationship with me based on the nuiances of a card. They will a lifetime of memories, a boat load of hugs and kisses, fancy expressions and many casual days - to know that birthday's are more than cards. Birthday's are for the living, and marked by opportunity to remember, give thanks, and celebrate with those that truly love you - which sometimes means no real "celebration" at all. Unless dinner with the kids and the husband (I'm thinking turkey hotdogs), a good cup of coffee (Folger's Hazelnut sounds like it will hit the spot) and a lifetime of reflecting on those that truly love you is a celebration to anyone else. Happy Birthday to me, a whole day early.

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