We’ve all been there: you wake up one morning, casually look at the calendar, and—GASP—you realize you completely forgot a loved one’s birthday! Life happens; people get busy; time passes without too much thought to specific dates. I get it.
But when we recently celebrated my daughter’s second birthday, I was surprised by how many people in my family and circle of close friends didn’t think to send a gift or a card, or to call, text, or even post to my Facebook wall (and how many of them still don’t realize the day has passed). For that reason, I thought it would help me to work through some of my own disappointment by sharing my thoughts on why it’s soooo important to remember a child’s birthday, not so much for the child, but for the parents. Because I, too, have let a child’s birthday pass without thinking it was important to congratulate the parents, but that was before I had a child of my own…
1. Ask any parent and they will tell you that the day that they welcomed their child into the world was the best day of their lives. No other day is more heart-wrenching, physically painful, and ultimately joyous. So having friends and family acknowledge this day each year shows they recognize its immeasurable significance in your life.
2. Now that I’m a mom, I couldn’t care less if you remember my birthday. I’m a big girl. I don’t worry about parties and presents anymore. But please, don’t forget my daughter’s birthday.
3. It’s so, so easy to set up a date reminder on your phone, in your email, or even through an e-card website that it’s hard to find an excuse for not acknowledging a special date anymore.
4. It takes so little effort on your part to send me a text message on that day, but it means so much to me.
5. As a SAHM, this child is my life—my “job,” if you want to think of it that way. So not calling to recognize my daughter’s birthday is like me completely ignoring your new job, an amazing promotion, or a fantastic raise.
6. If someone does make a fuss over A’s birthday, it shows me that they know what’s important in my life and that they understand me well, bringing us closer.
7. When it comes time to celebrate one of your accomplishments, I will bend over backwards for the people in my life who are there for me, too.
8. After college, my husband and I landed in a part of the country where we’re a great distance from any family, so we generally celebrate special days like our daughter’s birthday with close local friends. I often listen jealously to other parents’ stories of nearby grandparents spoiling their grandchildren, or grandparents’ presence at the hospital when my friends gave birth, and sometimes, I feel really isolated from the ones I love most. But just getting a quick call from friends and family hundreds of miles away helps me feel reconnected to them.
9. I can be an emotional, contemplative person, so I tend to get very nostalgic on A’s birthday, thinking about the challenges and joys of that day and how drastically my life has changed since then. I know myself well enough to understand that being in this state makes me especially sensitive to who remembered and who forgot this amazing day in my life.
10. Parenthood is tough, and there are plenty of days that don’t end up feeling like victories. But on this one day of the year, no matter what else happens, you can’t help but feel amazing about this wonderful child you produced, and it’s nice to be congratulated on your fantastic feat
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