Childhood is often reminisced with fond memories, especially around special occasions like festivals, summer or winter vacations and of course, birthdays.
My childhood is replete with such fond memories and I often like to revive and relive these memories through each passing year, in my own small way.
Although, a tad bit older, none the bit wiser, I try to recreate the magic of those moments. Memories around birthdays don’t need an “age” or a number specificity to cherish and celebrate.
I choose to celebrate each and everything, including birthdays, which my parents celebrated to make us feel special and loved.
My Special Days
Birthdays for instance were a big deal for me, especially in my growing up years. I remember it was in standard 5, when I decided that I was too grown up for childlike pompom laced birthday parties. I clearly remember how I had declared that I was a grown up then and strictly told my parents to stop creating a hullabaloo around my birthday any more.
To respect an eleven year old child’s decision, they made sure my last formal, childlike birthday party was way beyond “normal”. They got me a special castle shaped cake with all fancy sugar decorations (in those days getting ice cream cones as the castle tops with silver balls and bells was a great deal on cake). Apart from that, they called almost everyone from their world, arranged some fancy games, and literally hosted a party that lasted to the wee hours of night.
Honestly, as an eleven year old, I felt I had grown up, but my parents hadn’t. I was all the more certain of not repeating the celebrations anymore to save myself from further embarrassments caused through my parents over-indulgence.
Anyway, the years rolled by, but my parents didn’t leave any stone upturned to help me savor my birthdays. The years since then, still were laced with birthday celebrations of a different kind.
Although, there were no “party” parties as such, yet there were gifts wrapped and placed near my pillow, surprise cake in the morning, special breakfasts, formal lunches with friends all laced with homemade fancy food, and night time were reserved with cozy dinners with family. From morning to evening, I was made to feel as if I had done something great by simply taking birth on this planet.
As I look back now, I feel my parents left me more than fond memories around my birthdays.
What It Meant
They left me a treasure chest of feelings indescribable into words. They chose occasions like birthdays to help me realize that I was that special thing in their life that made their life worth living. Birthdays were a way to be thankful for everything they had and felt, through me or my siblings. To help us understand the happiness that they felt, they created that soft cocoon of happiness around us, which till today we would like to carry as part of some unstated legacy.
The fact that we were cherished, loved and respected is what has made us, the siblings grow strong, emotionally stable and mentally secure. We now don’t crave for material cravings, but rather the companionship of our loved ones on special days to nurture that feeling of warmth and security.
Doing the Same for My Child
This feeling of security is what I wish to create for my son too. A feeling of belonging, being accepted, loved and respected is something that creates that strong capsule of security in our kids’ minds. This feeling of being wanted is what makes them strive towards perfection, in order to please us, or to sustain that feeling of being loved and cherished forever.
Any pitfalls, by way of unacceptability or disrespect from our end, is what throws them off balance and they tend to deviate.
My mother always said that with freedom came responsibility. She extended freedom to me, without drawing any boundaries, sometimes even scaring me. Her excessive faith and freedom is what sometimes scared me and I often questioned myself with my own given freedom.
This fear she believed, created that sense of self-realization in me, the ability to assess myself. This fear of failing in her eyes, shunning the faith that she had put in me, was what helped me pull the reins, when I felt the need to (without having her telling me). I guess it was the fear of me being unaccepted or looking at something they loved and cherished, so defeated, is what spiraled that sense of responsibility in me.
And this feeling of acceptance and belonging got strengthened on such occasions, when I was made to feel special and accepted and loved, despite all flaws.
Although, we don’t need special days to cherish the companionship that we have, yet I wouldn’t deny that birthdays or special occasions are sure shot means of celebrating the bonds that are so special in our lives.
I always look forward to celebrate the birthdays of my loved ones by doing something special. It isn’t always about material things, but definitely the ways in which we make our loved ones feel on their special days that counts. The feeling of being needed and belonged is what makes their D-day, a special memory in many years to come!
As a mother, I would always love my child to remember our special equation through the happy feelings he had on his special days and on not-so special days.
The material things will eventually fade away, but the feelings are what will last in his heart and mind for eternity! He should be able to hold onto these fond memories, and use them as base, to create some more for himself and others in life ahead, even when we are not around.
After all, parenting is all about building memories and what better way than using special occasions like birthdays to create them!