I have always contended that your birthday holds the most importance to your mother. She was the one closest to the event, she was the one most profoundly affected by it, she is the one who holds those memories the closest. In recent generations birthdays have been celebrated in a variety of ways from a simple cake to a “destination” party. It wasn’t until I gave birth to my own children that I understood the reason for the celebration. It’s your mother’s celebration. It’s a day of reminiscing about your birth, the stories are told.
I was always amazed that my mother would remember the minute I was born – 5:31 AM on a Saturday. She would wake me up often at that time to wish me a happy birthday (although in the back of my mind I’m not sure that wasn’t some evil prank). There was always a cake and a gift or two, the song was sung. Our celebrations were always pretty subdued – but the story was told. It helped shape who I am.
I remember the birth of each one of my children like it was yesterday. Each one unique, each has their own story. But, it’s not so much their story as it is mine. You would think that the older they get the more the memories would fade but it’s in the celebration of each child’s birthday that keeps those memories so alive. It’s in the telling of the stories that gives the events meaning and importance.
My mother has been gone for almost 25 years but she is the one I silently celebrate this day with, I remember the story.