December 29, 2006

Birthday Philosophy

Meaning…the rational investigation of truths and principles of conduct.

My question is…Why is our own birthday so important to us and why do we have such a difficult time remembering the birthday of others.

Not that my birthday was remembered or forgotten in the most recent past, but anyone who has a birthday within the coming month has woeful stories to tell of being forgotten in the rush of the holidays; birthday gifts wrapped with Christmas paper – or lack thereof - because most presents were placed under a certain highly decorated tree!

Jim’s birthday happens every year three days after Christmas. As usual, I worried that ALL the kids would remember and how I could give his special day the recognition it deserved.

Every year about this time I make up a birthday list for the coming year and send it to family and friends who are ON that list, in hopes that all will be honored on their specific golden day. But, we still miss a few, and regret the delinquent call or card. Or perhaps, we don’t do anything and hope no one will notice!

We end this year with fresh memories of mom almost forgotten or dad completely missed by a few days! Not to mention all those close friends we were going to surprise with cards and phone calls! Sound familiar?

So, how do we handle the memory of a long birthday DAY when that favorite someone did NOT call to say Happy Birthday? And, how do we acknowledge our failing memory of those we really did forget?

Another pressing question is…What determines how much or how little we put into other people’s birthdays? When my husband’s birthday comes around, I tend to believe that the number of gifts indicates HOW MUCH I love him…then I realized the world could not hold all the presents I’d give him. I still overwhelmed him with about 18 gifts on December 28. He says I made up for all the times he didn’t get any or maybe got one birthday present in years past with his birthday so close to Christmas.

When at least two important and close family members did not place that awaited call this year, we had a discussion on how to react, but we realized that a gentle reminder would correct the untimely delay.

Today, I’ll be updating the Birthday/Anniversary List, and I might send it out to close relatives who do try to remember all those special events that occur with regularly throughout our lifetime. In 2007, I hope to send out even more cards than last year, knowing that most human's do enjoy that recognition even if in a small way.

Sometimes we go so far as to honor those who have passed on. Grandma’s was August 26 and Grandpa’s was May 8. Something else happened on March 8 – or was it the 9th. Ha Ha. See what time does?

Maybe I’ll post a BIRTHDAY LIST on this blogsite. In a few days, you can go to Google and type in a name (in quotes) and get a birthday instantly. More magic from a person who loves creating magic for those I love!

Take Care On The Journey,

1 comment:

Floyd said...

I find this analysis of traditional expectations somewhat interesting as well as baffling. One conclusion a lot of us have come to is that very possibly b-days are much more important to women, especially mothers - than men. That is because they spend 9 months of very personal up-close anticipation of an often very painful event that is transformed into an unforgettable moment of joy. That kind of memory tends to lodge in the experiential memory much more intensely and longer-lasting than it ever could for a man.
The tradition of giving gifts and honoring a person on their b-day also has made me wonder about the logic or reasoning behind it. What is it about the day your body exited your mother's body that people should annually honor you and shower you with gifts? Is it sympathy? I know I might be inviting wrathful venting by this time.
Why is it that people expect to be on the receiving end on their b-day instead of on the giving end? What is it in tradition that determines all these assumptions?
As for me, many times I completely forget that my b-day is even near until I overhear someone talking about it. I usually have to remember what year it is and do the math to figure out how old I am every time someone asks me how old I am. Maybe I'm just weird.
I did not grow up with the tradition of gifts on my b-day so I guess it never became as ingrained and assumption as it does for many. I will say that I have occasionally been very pleasantly surprised and delighted when I received a personal thoughtful b-day card from someone whom I didn't even realize was even thinking about me. Because I value and crave relationships but am not very good at cultivating them, such an act of thoughtfulness definitely makes for a surprise.