Holly turns nine years old today, which makes it what I call a “mom-birthday” for me. Even nearly thirteen years after the birth of my first child, I still bask in a feeling of triumph as well as gratitude each year on my children’s birthdays.
I congratulate my friends when it’s their “mom-birthdays” as well, even though they often don’t see it as the same kind of personal holiday I do. True, the focus should be (and always is) on the child celebrating the birthday, but I still think a kid’s birthday is a big deal for the mom as well. “Look, I transported her safely through another year!” I always want to proclaim on my child’s birthday.
It’s more than an accomplishment, of course. It’s a blessing. Holly has had another wonderfully healthy and happy and safe year, and beyond being triumphant, I should be tremendously grateful. And I am. Reaching nine years old free of serious illness, injury, or other catastrophe is something many children are not fortunate enough to experience. I feel gratitude every day that mine have been so fortunate.
But I also marvel at the fact that we’ve both reached another yearly marker. When my children were infants, I was somewhat surprised by every day we successfully survived together. Now it’s a lot easier, of course. They don’t need so much from me anymore. Not compared to when they were infants, anyway. And it’s a lot more fun now than it was back then. A successful feeding and a fifteen-minute nap was the measure of a good day during Holly’s first few months. Now she can do so much that I consider wonderful: ride a bike, write a story, compose a song, comfort a friend, recount an anecdote, tease her father.
She’s nine, and she’s very pleased with that fact. I am too. I’m grateful and happy for the past nine years we’ve spent together, and I look forward to the one just beginning. I’m curious what milestones it will disclose. I’m appreciative of those that unfolded over the past twelve months. I’m thankful to be here with Holly today, wishing her a happy birthday. And savoring my own mom-birthday as well.