Family Life: Birthdays


by Diane Burton

In my family, we always celebrated birthdays. Same with my husband’s. As a result, we celebrated birthdays as a family. First birthdays were always so much fun. When our daughter turned one, and her cake (a special “doll” cake my mother-in-law made) was put in front of her, everyone expected her to smash the cake. Not Daughter. She daintily picked the icing “flowers” and tasted. Again and again. Soon she tired of that and dropped her hand off the high chair tray and let the dog lick her fingers. The family got quite a chuckle out of that.

When Daughter started going with her future husband, she discovered that his family didn’t make a big to-do over birthdays. And they didn’t matter that much to him. I’m not one to let a birthday go by without celebrating. We had cakes, pies, and even a watermelon with birthday candles in them for his birthday. I think he likes that we think enough of him to want to celebrate.

As our family expands, we have a birthday in seven of the twelve months. In some months, we have two birthdays. Fortunately, their birthdays are far enough apart that they don’t have to share.

I think everyone deserves a special day. A day that’s just their own. My two have birthdays close to Christmas—one two weeks before, the other two weeks after. I never considered combining. As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, I’m the oldest of seven. Sometimes, it felt easy to get lost in the crowd. That we were grouped—the girls, the boys, and the little kids—not really individuals. But, my mom always made an effort to celebrate each child’s birthday.

The older I get the less I want my family to make a big deal out of my birthdays, especially the milestone ones. I enjoy their efforts to get together. A cake isn’t necessary—and I shouldn’t eat all that sugar anyway. 😊 I don’t need more “things”. What’s important (to me) is their presence, not presents. A chance to do something with the family. When Daughter and family lived 5 hours away, and Son and family were 2,000 miles away, I didn’t expect them to visit. A phone call meant more. It said, “you’re important, you’re special, we love you.”

That’s what celebrating birthdays should mean. Not a lot of gifts, but a get together (when possible), a way to let that person know s/he is special.


About the Author

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband.

Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website. Connect with Diane online at her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on Pinterest. Sign up for Diane’s new release alert.

You can read Diane’s “Family Life” column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.

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