A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Birthday Eve struggle we face as mamas. You know, the one where we all of a sudden feel sad as we wish they would stay little forever? But when did we decide it was ok to feel sad about our kid’s birthday? Why do I cry every year when trying to pick out a card for my daughter’s birthday—especially when she can’t even read yet?! It is so bittersweet to watch our children grow, but the bitter is far less than the sweet.
Tomorrow my oldest child will turn five—or as she said, “That’s a whole hand, mama!” And as I sit here on her Birthday Eve, I am choosing to celebrate the sweetness of that whole hand instead of the bitterness. Because I would much rather watch my child grow than wish I could see her grow. So many parents suffer heartache through tragedy, loss or longing for a child. So many parents aren’t able to see another birthday. So many parents will only have memories of their children at such a young age, never knowing what another year would bring.
So rather than being sad that another year has passed, I will choose to celebrate her birthday—like full out celebrate. There will be no sadness on my children’s birthdays, only joy. And cake—there has to be cake.
What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to watch her grow. To see her mind develop. To discover what she will become. To see the ways in which my childhood will come screaming back to me and when I look to my mother for advice she will smile and say, “You were just like that when you were a little girl.”
Yes, there will be days filled with challenges. Some days I will feel like the only word that came out of my mouth was “no.” Some days I will feel stuck in the chaos of living life in a blender with no lid. Yes, the days are long and the years are short, but they are so full of LIFE. So I will celebrate the long days. The exhausting days. The days that wear me out. Because every birthday is a celebration of another 365 days—be they short or long, lid or no lid—that I was able to spend with my child. And even when you think they’ve grown too big to need you, every now and then they will ask you to rock them to sleep, just like mine did tonight.
So I challenge you, mamas, to choose the sweet over the bitter. Choose joy of another year passed. Choose to celebrate. And when you do, let there be cake!