Saturday, 24 January 2015

Feeling Treasured

New Year, new post and yes it has been a while since my last post...
I have written before about how we celebrate different occasions and thought I would write about how we do the 'grown up' birthdays!
The grown ups (being Jon and I) birthdays are just before and just after Christmas.  We have always put in lots of effort for the children's birthdays.  I find it quite easy to be thoughtful and creative for them. Its easier to find a theme and plan parties, buying toys (which are packaged in large boxes) somehow feels more satisfying.  Its exciting to feed off their energy as they look forward to 'their' day. I love being a mother and enjoy marking the occasion of when it all began.  Also that feeling of pride - yes we've parented through another year! I am noticing this gets a bit harder as they get older, as their desires become less but more expensive. 
I am not really sure when it happened but as I became older and more children arrived birthdays became less special.  When I was younger, I really looked forward to my birthday with anticipation and excitement.  My parents did a great job at making us feel special.  We were not spoilt with lavish gifts but it was the 'feeling' that I loved and wanted to pass onto my children. 
I liked having a winter birthday. It meant I always had money to go out in the sales and if I wished for snow to fall, it sometimes did! As I got a bit older it became a bit more painful as no one wanted to go out (as it's the week after New Years) and no one had any money (again the week after New Years and it was just Christmas).  Then somewhere along motherhood it became put on the side.  I became a bit frustrated with the effort I would put in for them and my own would be forgotten, to the point where I didn't really look forward to it anymore as I would find it disappointing.  I appreciate that this may sound really selfish and no, I don't give to receive but it got to this point. I would receive gifts but it felt like duty, there would be birthday cake (or I would have to go out and get it under the guise of well you can choose the one you want), we may have even gone out but it felt like something we had to get through rather than an expression of love.  I felt un-treasured and taken for granted by my family, whom I love with all my heart. 
I wondered what message this sent to our children - did I want my sons to learn that this is how you treat your wife, that when you became older you didn't matter anymore and you just go through the motions to appease others? that birthdays are only for children? If that was it, I would rather just have my birthday in private, as it felt like everything I was trying to achieve in expressing love to my children on the day they were born was being wiped out by the way we chose to celebrate as adults.  Jon and I had a 'discussion' and decided we would raise our game at each others birthdays.  I have to say the last couple of years Jon and the boys have done amazingly well at making me feel treasured on my birthday and I hope Jon would say the same.
Jons birthday is in December and I set about a plan to bless him, spent time thinking about what would make him happy an what he would appreciate.  He would always talk about how we wanted the decorations up after his birthday.  I always want to put them up 1st December but this year I thought I would give him what he wanted - after doing this, it turns out he actually does like them up before but we would agree not to discuss or do anything Christmassy on his birthday.   I made him a chocolate birthday cake, bought him some presents and the boys made him cards.  The kids went to school and we had a day together! (Jon took a day holiday) It was great to have some grown up time together. We all celebrated together in the evening with a take away.  It was a chilled out relaxing day - just what Jon loves.  At the weekend we went out to a restaurant and celebrated with family members.
For my birthday, it was Sunday and I was on worship team so it meant I had to be up and out the door early, so Jon had prepared a special breakfast for me on Saturday (I love breakfast and he prepared waffles with fresh fruit - my favourite).  After church Jon and the boys had turned the dining room into a restaurant KFDs.  N was my waiter and they had made menu cards. Jon can't cook so it was chicken pieces from the hot counter at Waitrose with crisps and chocolate bites/rocky road pieces from M&S for afters.  The waiter took my order via his remote control car and it was fun.  It was really special as they all got involved and played a part. I received presents and cards, a cake (also from Waitrose) and he had organised a sitter in the evening so we went out to Yo Sushi for dinner.  I really like sushi and really appreciated all their efforts. I felt treasured and it was good to see my family working together whilst having fun with it.  I hope these memories stay with them and that they will build on them when they have their families. So that's how we do the grown up birthdays!

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