Yesterday, my baby sister turned forty-nine. Tomorrow, my son turns twenty-nine.
When one has a birthday, the twenty-four-hour period is about oneself. Well wishes, presents, celebratory events, and even moments of self-reflection may all be on the myopic agenda of the day. But today, I think the real point of a birthday is being missed.
You see, Randi and Brandon, today I look at your birthdays from my perspective…how your births impacted ME. And let me just say — right up front — the cause and effect has been huge.
From the moment I held you, Randi, you were my sister, secret-keeper and adoring fan. You made me feel responsible for your safety (on the playground), security (I was terrified about losing you at the mall), and well-being (you ripped my heart out when you cried). And you made me worry about how my behaviors would be perceived or emulated by you. The pressure was real!
From the moment I held you, Brandon, you made me a parent; a mature and truly responsible adult though I was younger than you now are. Beyond caring for your basic needs, your mere being caused me to examine all of my notions, assumptions and expectations about being a mother. Right and wrong required reasons. Discipline had to teach about consequences of actions. Communication had to be clear, direct, concise and logical. Arguments and disagreements had to be resolved to achieve a win-win and sealed with hugs. You taught me to defy the status quo and embrace change.
You two have pushed me. You’ve stretched me. You’ve challenged me. Because of you (and a few select others) my life is fuller and richer.
So go ahead and be self-indulgent on your birthdays. But I’m going to party too…to celebrate the me that’s because of you.