Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let Us Eat Cake!

How was your birthday celebrated when you were a child? Was it a big deal in the home, an important day to be celebrated when more time would be available, or was it just another day?

When I was a young whippersnapper, my parents made birthdays an important part of our family’s culture. Each year on my birthday morning, my parents would awaken me together and wish me a happy birthday. It was a great way to wake up, with both parents letting me know that they were glad that I was their child!

In some years, my parents gave my birthday present to me in the morning and other years they waited until the evening.

My friends also had parents who thought that a child’s birthday was a pretty big deal, so all of us in our neighborhood grew up believing that birthdays were important!

Fast-forwarding several years, before we had any children, my wife and I encountered a distant relative who gleefully announced that she celebrated each person’s birthday together on the same day! “One cake, one day, and it’s over until next year” was the accepted mantra in that family! Each year on the 4th of July, her family celebrated birthdays that had been observed in February, May, and June, thereby, in my view, negating the special feeling for each child on his/her special day.

My wife told me that she believed that celebrating birthdays on the closest weekend day was her thought of celebrating our future kids’ birthdays. However, after I told her how my made parents made me feel extra special on the actual date of my birthday each year, we agreed to somewhat celebrate each child’s birthday on the actual birthday morning with a larger celebration coming on the weekend.

So, as all three of our children were born in January, while we have a mini-celebration each birthday morning (please click on the link to read my post on celebrating birthdays -, we have the larger family celebration on the following weekend for each child, with each birthday celebrated with music, a gift or two, photos, and, of course, a cake for each child!

While each child gets his/her big wake up call on the morning of their own birthday, they also get to feel special on the next weekend, as all eyes are on them for their special day!

And, as you have already calculated, this means that we are eating cake on three consecutive weekends! And, of course, cake is not complete without ice-cream. And, as you already know, since there is too much cake to eat in one day, there is cake for the whole week and with three children, we have cake (and ice-cream) in the house for three straight weeks in January each year!

Healthy? Not even close! Extra treadmill use in January? YES! Special for the kids? Absolutely!!

And that is why we continue to do it. Each child gets a birthday greeting and song on the birthday morning followed by a celebration, cake, and ice-cream to look forward to on the weekend.

So, while I prepare to eat my final piece of cake (or two or three!), please send along your ideas on celebrating birthdays in your home!

Paul W. Reeves

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