I love birthdays. No, not my own so much since I received the surprising invite in the mail from the AARP. I keep throwing it away before someone in my house finds it and realizes that mom is getting old(er). But a new invite comes shortly behind the one in the trash and the cycle begins again.
Other people’s birthdays are what I like. Why? It is my time to reconnect with old friends, family and acquaintances. It brings surprise and joy to them and to me. If you think about it, it is the time when it is OK to reach out to someone you may not have the opportunity to speak with on a regular basis.
Birthdays are joyous occasions and it’s so nice to let the person know you are thinking of them, even if you don’t talk that often.
I believe I obtained this tradition from my mother. Every year, she would painstakingly and systematically record friends, family and acquaintances birthdays on her calendar.
The fun part began with picking out the new calendar for the new year in December. The calendar would always have motivational sayings for each month and beautiful pictures. Sometimes it was pictures of birds or puppies and sometimes it was pictures of children or nature.
Every year it was something different and it hung just inside the kitchen cabinet that you opened each day where the glasses were kept.
Every morning the motivational saying would greet you and every morning you could think about all those in your life who had a birthday this month as they were all printed neatly on the appropriate day.
She would gather cards for these occasions throughout the year. Making sure to pick just the right one for the particular person who was to be honored. She also would write a personal note sometimes in shorthand that was fun to interpret.
“Hope to CU soon! With love, Emma Jean”
So, I picked up this tradition and follow her same steps. Because it is 2015, I must also record them on my iPhone calendar as a recurring annual appointment. Yes, I guess I could just move to the electronic calendar. It would save time. I could just send an email. It would be more efficient and probably more timely. But there is something about the tradition of manually transferring the names to the new calendar that I picked out for the new year.
There is something about seeing the beautiful picture on the calendar with the motivational words every morning. There is something about my children reflecting on the friends, family and acquaintances birthdays and the discussion we have around the person. It may involve a story about how I met the person, a special memory or the place they moved.
My kids are amazed I stay in touch with all of these people that have had an impact on my life.
Will my kids carry on this tradition? I sure hope so. Reflecting on the blessings of friendship throughout the year is a tradition worth keeping. Reading positive motivational thoughts throughout the day as you reach for a glass is also worth keeping.
I feel very good about birthdays, even my own (except for the AARP invites that won’t stop coming; they must have the wrong address).
I know you’re thinking it’s better than the alternative, and you are right. There is so much to be thankful for. Friends, family and those who impact your life can be honored at least once a year.
Sandra Rabon is a CPA, has served in various financial management roles in industry and is the mother of three.