The Best Part of Birthdays

b-dayI had a fabulous birthday weekend.

First, I spent the whole, long 4th of July weekend writing at a terrific little “beach getaway” with my sister-in-law, nephew, and my hubby and kids. Then I took a few additional days off and just enjoyed the time to officially welcome summer.

The best part of birthdays, though, is always what cute things my kids do. The teens are older, now, and not as silly (although I have many fond memories of seranades with 4th grade violin-playing, “concerts” performed by grade-schoolers, and breakfast in bed run by a “restaurant” of people under 4 feet tall).

But Nate is still of an age where he wants to put together “special” table decorations and make the day really memorable. He will run out into the front yard to find hibiscus or daisies and put them in little vases (usually a drinking cup from the cupboard). This picture was from a previous birthday when he set the coffee table up like a restaurant, complete with a comforter as a tablecloth.

Here were my favorite things from this year:

  • Having Nate turn around when we were on Balboa Pier (and I was a victim of some fierce winds off the pier, with my hair “twist” falling down and my bangs blowing all over the place) and saying, “You look really pretty, Mom, with your hair all [*made a motion all around his head.*]”
  • Having my 13-year-old daughter get out of the car at Fashion Island (a super high-end shopping mall where I never feel I belong) and telling me (after I was patting said “twist” back into place after more ocean winds), “Your hair always looks good.” [Note: This is not REMOTELY true, but it was very sweet!]
  • Having my 16-year-old son point to a picture in a “celebrity” magazine, to a very-young celeb mom who was wearing frumpy clothes, “Wow, she dresses more like a mom than you do!” [I know, I know. … Not much. But trust me, from a 16-year-old boy, this is a compliment!! And, you see, I desperately need to hear these things on birthdays past 40. …]
  • Looking up from my home desk out the window in the evening and seeing Superman walking up the front steps after work with a bouquet of flowers and a birthday cake! [Bonus points for the fact that one of the filler flowers looked exactly like the fireworks we saw the other night!]
  • Nate giving me a coupon in the morning for “Kisses and Hugs Whenever I Want.” He explained that normally I ask for kisses and hugs when he comes in, or when he’s going to bed, or when I think he looks cute (all true), but he assured me that this coupon would not limit me to those mundane instances. I could get a kiss or hug “whenever.” : ) [Hilariously, though, it had an expiration date of July 11, so I need to make as much use of it as possible until then!]

Birthdays like this are always the best. …

Have you had your child say or do something that just “made your day” on a birthday?

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0 thoughts on “The Best Part of Birthdays

  1. I like that Nate also said that he doesn’t just give hugs and kisses”wille nille” but he really does. He loves to give his family hugs and kisses for any reason!
    I think what was great, and has always been great, is that you are so “low maintenance” about your special days. You make living with you very easy and in return we all want to please you that much more!
    Happy birthday sweetheart; you are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!

  2. My daughter Alli always does stuff that makes me feel special. Some of my favorites are:

    1. Wrapping up her baby blanket and giving it to me for Christmas. She was about nine when she did this, and it felt good, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps it felt like she was saying she was glad I was her mom and in a way handing me part of her babyhood back as she got older. Very special.

    2. She fixed the frame one year on my favorite picture of her as a toddler. She bought the glue and whatever else she needed and made it perfect. Don’t know why, but it was so sweet to me. I guess she knew how much I’d loved that picture and decided she could fix it up. Just a really thoughtful gift that didn’t need to be expensive.

    3. Giving me a coupon book she’d made and decorated with coupons for doing extra chores and for a couple of massages. So thoughtful.

    She’s sixteen now and still really thoughtful. She always helps me with dinner and tells me how pretty I am, usually right at the time I need it. She’s going on 17 too, so her thoughtfulness in itself is surprising and so appreciated.

  3. Oh, my gosh, Jeanne, I LOVED your stories about your daughter! So sweet! I love that she wrapped up her baby blanket for you for Christmas! Yes, as if she loved that thing, and knew you loved it, and knew you were the source of it. … it’s all so sweet.

    And it’s very cool that she’s 16 now, but these little details of affection are so readily remembered by Mom!

    Thanks for those. … Made my day. : )

  4. Chris — Yes, I forgot Nate’s line in the letter saying he doesn’t give hugs and kisses “Wille Nille,” you know (which he so totally DOES, anyway!). … He’s hilarious.

  5. Happy, happy birthday Laurie. Having kids you always hear that it is best when they are babies, it is best when they are toddlers, and they are right. But parents forget that it is also best when they are teenagers and older. My children now 17 and 19 years old, you would think that “mom” stuff is over…but it just keeps getting better and better. I still love being a mom and at birthdays it is the best!
    Being a single parent, we did not have much $$. The kids were 10 and 12, my birthday was on a workday, I was in the shower getting ready for work, I usually woke the kids up after my shower for all of us to get ready for the day. To my surprise, when I came out of the bathroom, my bedroom was all decorated for my birthday, they hung red hearts from the ceiling, written on the hearts “happy birthday” “we love you” “you are the best mommy”. They put christmas twinkle lights all over the room and had a candle wrapped up as my gift, with a huge homemade card.
    They were huddled in my bed just waiting for my shower to end. It was such a wonderful surprise and really showed me that I must be doing something right as a single parent. Of course, they were sad that I was crying when I saw all the hearts and lights. I had to explain that they were tears of surprise and happiness. To this day, the kids still make homemade cards and they are just wonderful.
    I think I will go and give each one of my wonderful, loving children a hug and kiss right this minute and I will tell them it was all your fault!
    Happy birthday again Laurie

  6. Oh, Debbie, this story made me all misty! Truly. I’m over here trying to drink my early-morning Diet Coke with tears all in my eyes. …

    Anyway, very sweet. I think when we don’t have tons of money when our kids are small, we tend to do “little things” for them to make the day special — even if it’s just a balloon waking them up in the morning, and homemade cakes. And I think our kids take this lesson with them, don’t you? That it’s not the big “important” gifts that mean much, it’s the little things to simply make the day “special” for someone they love. Then they do it back for us (and, presumably, will do so for all the people that come into their lives). Like Jeanne’s daughter’s baby blanket, it’s like they’re giving back what we gave them.

    So sweet. … Now I need to go get misty in my Diet Coke again. … Great story! I love to hear this stuff.

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