Birthdays are cause for celebration at our house. We make them intoa very big deal. The kids especially look forward to it, but not just because of the presents. We do give gifts but they tend to be small. We choose to put the emphasis on celebrating the person and showing how much we care by giving attention. We hang up a banner the night before so that the person sees it when they wake up. They get to choose a special restaurant or meal for dinner and pick a weekend activity for us to do as a family. Of course, there is also a special dessert and the traditional birthday candles.

We always include some kind of gathering. The kids, if they choose, can have parties with their friends – as the years have gone by, we’ve had pool parties, arcade parties, movie theater parties, and simple playdates – but we leave that up to them to decide. We also usually have relatives over too at some point, either on the day of or the weekend before or after. We take our time with everything and make it feel truly special for the birthday person. Nobody minds because everyone in the family knows that they will get the same treatment when their birthday rolls around. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy being around all the people who love and care for them?

My favorite are milestone birthdays. I probably went overboard when the kids turned one. And when my two oldest turned 10 (I have one to go). There’s going to be huge festivities for 18 and 21 as well (assuming my kids want them, anyway). It’s a great time to acknowledge the kids and say, “hey, we’re proud of the person you’re becoming!” That’s something every kid needs to hear and what better time to do it than when it is their birthday? One day, my kids will have families of their own and I won’t be the one kissing them on the forehead and wishing them a happy birthday when they wake up. I really hope that the tradition will live on through them and they will do the same thing for their own families.

Especially as we get older, we tend to shy away from a large fuss on our birthdays. I don’t see why. I don’t look at getting older as a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I see it as an accomplishment. Just think about it: how many people don’t get to celebrate even a 60th birthday? Why be sad that you’re reaching retirement age and instead appreciate the fact that you’ve been blessed enough to be close to an age where you hopefully get to enjoy life more and work less, spending more time with those you love the most. How is reaching that age a bad thing? It totally deserves to be celebrated!!