As a baby born Christmas week, I want to 1) apologize to my mother who already had one child to wrangle at the holidays and 2) always make sure my kids birthdays never get lost in the shuffle no matter the time of year.
My parents did the best they could to acknowledge two December birthdays (my sister was December as well) but the years yielded a slew of combo gifts, birthday presents in Christmas paper and general lack of enthusiasm which only heightened as I neared adulthood.
I alternated between feeling either totally ignored or guilty for anyone who went to a great effort during such a busy time of year. It was hopeless.
Thankfully, none of my children were born during the holidays or even shared a birthday month. But the December baby in me spurred me to make a big show of birthdays and really enjoy the day with my kids.
When they were little, it was easy. Birthday crowns in kindergarten, parties with tons of friends and presents. Yet as they got older, the trappings were less and less.
It was about that time I decided they were all old enough to hear about my pregnancy as I carried them and the day they were born. It is a unique birthday story that no one can share or take away.
Even now in their teens, all three boys love hearing anecdotes about the day they entered the world. Each year, I am amazed at the clarity with which I remember those moments. I can recall the emotions so vividly yet somehow not the pain.
Let’s be honest, we never thought we would forget that searing pain.
Yet, that is the miracle of this whole baby thing. Whether it is the first day you lay eyes on your adopted child or your baby’s first cry after it leaves the safety of the womb, it is imprinted on your heart and mind forever.
It is the birth of a relationship between mother and child that endures all time and space. The retelling of these tales reminds me that these boys were the best gift I’ll ever receive. Even if you add all the magical birthdays and Christmases of my 50+ years together, it is the only gift that keeps on giving me joy every day.