I awoke to my Dad gently tapping my shoulder on my seventh birthday. Looking around the small room with two other siblings still sleeping, I knew it was earlier than usual. He motioned for me to come out into the hallway and told me he was taking me out to breakfast, just the two of us before school.
I’ll never forget that morning. The smell of the restaurant, and the buffet of food awaiting me. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but I felt so loved. So seen and so honored.
You see, I’m the oldest of six children. It was easy to feel overwhelmed as the oldest at times, my duties involving taking care of younger siblings. But there was one thing ( out of many ) that my parents took pride in.
That was , and still is celebrating our Birthdays and special occasions.
I did not grow up wealthy, or even close. In fact there were times finances were very tight, slim to none if you will. But this never stopped my parents from making us feel important on our birthdays. I never once had a single crappy birthday my entire childhood. They made a ” big deal ” out of each one of them.
Why? Because I was a big deal. My siblings were a big deal.
People you love are a big deal.
This blog is not about material things, but let me tell you that when you are a child, gifts are often your love language.
Expressing your love can be hard for some people, but luckily I was raised in a home where it was done daily. Not just on special occasions, but all the time. We did not have much, I mean heck, I grew up in a single wide trailer with five other kids. We were not privileged in the way that other children were, but we were LOVED.
We were celebrated. We never doubted that we were valued.
Because of the way I was raised, and how it shaped me into the woman I am today, my husband and I make a big deal out of celebrating our kids.
These moments and these memories will stay with them forever, and shape the parents and Grandparents they will one day become. I simply cannot shrug off their birthdays as just another day, or get them something meaningless to check off my to-do list.
How they view themselves starts right now. I want them to see what we see in them. What God see’s in them. I want them to feel secure in the fact that we WANT to celebrate their lives.
For me, in my younger years, often Birthdays, Christmas, and special occasions are the things that stand out in my memory as happy things. I feel that these fond memories over shadow some things that were hard for me as a child.
Almost as if I can say to myself ” Yeah, well that was difficult, but then when my Mom made my homemade Easter basket filled with my favorite things I felt secure again.”
Material things are great, but that’s not why I remember them. I remember them because I knew the thought process behind them.
((My parents must be listening to me because they know me well enough to give me my favorite book to read. They have really been listening when I tell them what I like to check out from the Library.))
If I can do that for our children, if I can show them how much they are loved, so much that when they become adults, that’s what they remember… then I’ve done something great.
Children are not stupid. They see and sense things that they hold inside. Every once in a while they open a window to their hearts, and when they do , its best we listen.
It’s best we respond to their hearts.
They are only this little for so long. They only get one 4th birthday.
Make it great, however that may be. But make sure they know how honored they are.
Their self worth starts with you as their parent.