There’s always one day each year when you (yes, you!) have always reigned supreme: your birthday. From first birthday smash cake and mess-making photo opportunities, to dinosaur-themed elementary school romps with a chorus of birthday songs ringing out, to dressed-up dinners out with friends as an adult, this once-a-year event is focused on a celebration of the day you came earth-side and have been making the world a little bit more delightful ever since.
Not to take away from your moment in the sun, but there’s someone else who deserves attention on this unique day. This year on your birthday, consider celebrating a lady every bit as invested in (and present for) your birth as you were—your mom.
In terms of out-of-the-box traditions I've adopted over the years, sending my mom a present on my birthday has resonated with her more than any other gifts I've ever given. This thoughtful act shows an appreciation for the hard work that comes with not only nourishing and growing a baby for nine months but laboring through the birth of that baby in what is—for all women—a truly transformative experience. Your birthday marks the beginning of your time here on this planet, of course, but it also marks one of the most intense, joyful transitions of your mother’s life. She deserves to be celebrated on this day, too.
Of course, not everyone has a positive relationship with their birth mother, so this could also be a day to celebrate the caregiver or people who helped raised you. Acknowledging those who have supported, loved and guided your life on your birthday doesn’t have to be biological.
And the gift you choose doesn’t have to be anything complicated. (Afterall, she’s already appreciated macaroni necklaces from you like they were diamonds and finger paint art like it’s a Picasso.) When I started this tradition, my mother and I lived far apart, so I’d simply have a florist in my hometown deliver a special bouquet in different shades of her favorite color or have a box of shortbread cookies sent from her most beloved bakery down the road. A handwritten letter or card, funny photo you’ve found from your childhood or trinket that’s part of an inside family joke are all simple ways to recognize the first person you ever knew.
Now that I have a daughter of my own (and have powered through an ultra-long labor) my appreciation for this ritual has deepened, and I can only hope that this becomes a family legacy that spans for generations. With this tradition, it is truly the thought that counts.