Celebrate!

It seems like every month someone I know is having a birthday. Just in the month of August I have five close family members celebrating birthdays.

From the time we are children our birthday is our own special day. Not like Christmas, Thanksgiving or any of the other holidays. It belongs to us! Hopefully you have good childhood birthday memories. I don't really recall having more than one or two, myself. When I had my own children, there was always a party. At least up until about eight years old. After that, I would just let them invite a few close friends, and we would all go and do something special. We might go to the movies, out for pizza and maybe even have a sleep over.

As we get older, we begin to focus more on the milestone birthdays. Turning 40, 50 and then again the big 70. Each decade brings many changes in our lives. Funny how the fortieth can be so emotional, and with the seventieth, we are just grateful! By that time, we have all experienced the loss of loved ones and friends. We truly do appreciate that we are still here.

I have heard of the so called mid-life crisis, but I personally have not known of anyone who had it. Not at all like a hot-flash, that most women are acquainted with. The little inconveniences we often have to live with, is somewhat of a trade off. You may get more years, but you have to accept the consequences!

When you are young you just assume you have many, many years ahead of you. That explains the feeling of being invincible that most young people have. When grandparents pass, it is perfectly normal. They are the oldest and are supposed to go first. Sadly, we do not always go in order of age and this can often be a much more difficult loss to deal with.

Having the one day a year to celebrate your birthday is not enough. When you are old, you need to celebrate every day. Just the fact that you have been given another day, is reason to celebrate.

Some years ago, I organized a girls slumber party. All us girls were in our late thirties, and had not been to a slumber party since childhood. We all brought food, some booze, and had a wonderful night. We even shared breakfast together in the morning. I remember when I sent out the invites I was very specific. No husband, boyfriends or children! It was a night that I enjoy remembering and so glad that I did it. Now, I don't think I know any girls who can still get up off the floor from a sleeping bag!

In my sixties, I started girls lunch. Once a month all us gals got together and went to a restaurant for lunch. I have pictures from some of those lunches, and can't help but be reminded that two of the girls have since passed away. I am thankfull that I can still look at their smiling faces on photos, and relive those moments. How wonderful that we took the time to be together.

Sister often forgets birthdays. She has thirty-three grandchildren now, and that would be difficult for anyone to keep up with. It certainly does not mean they are not important. Hopefully, their own parents will celebrate with them now. They will have the birthday parties we once had. It is their turn. Grandmas are often the guest of honor. We have earned that place.

It is funny how I no longer buy birthday candles. Actually, I just buy the two numbers. How difficult would it be trying to fit 70 candles on the cake? And who would have enough oxygen to blow them out? We have to preserve what we have left.

When someone passes in our family we often have a party for them. We call it a celebration of their life. We do not have funerals. Funerals are only to remind us that our loved one is gone. To us, they are never really gone. They are just no longer here with us. We have birthday parties for the living and say our good-byes with one last celebration. We have food, balloons and share memories/stories of the one who has left.

I wasn't sure exactly where I was going with this when I started. I think perhaps all these upcoming birthdays have just reminded me of how lucky I am to still be here, and to have a wonderful family and friends to share my life.

Studies have shown that birthday's are good for your health. People who have more birthdays live longer!