“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” –Sir Winston Churchill
It’s finally here! Today, the 5th of November, is my Birthday. It’s the one day of the year where I can strut my inner diva and demand that I be given breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed. It’s the one day where I can pass off every poop-filled diaper change and angry baby tantrum to my husband. It’s the one day where I can rewrite history and pretend the expression “remember remember the fifth of November,” is actually a tribute to my importance and, you know, not a reference to a plot to kill King James I.
Wait, this just in…my husband is informing that I can’t do any of that. Apparently we are adults, he has to go to work, and Oliver’s diaper rash will get out of hand if I wait for him to come home and change a diaper. Also, I cannot rewrite history, but rewriting Wikipedia is fair game.
Let’s face it, adult Birthdays just aren’t quite as fun as kid Birthdays. Once you’ve celebrated enough they lose a lot of their luster and become just another day. Or just another day where you also happen to gorge on cake. I wanted to find a way to make this Birthday stand out.
After a couple days of scheming, I couldn’t really come up with anything that could fit within the constraints of real life. Running out of time, I started to think about my 29 Random Acts of Kindness Project and what final act I would do on my Birthday. That’s when the idea came to me.
If I couldn’t come up with a way to make my Birthday memorable, why not try to make someone else’s Birthday memorable. But who? I didn’t know anyone else who shared my Birthday, and a quick internet search only turned up some “notable” celebrities: Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, Kris Jenner of Kardashian fame, and Vivien Leigh aka Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. Not exactly who I had in mind.
Then I got another idea. In a hospital not far from my home there must be a tiny baby that is celebrating his or her actual birth day. Why not do something special and unexpected for that baby and her mom?
Since cake is mandatory at all Birthday celebrations, I ran out to a local cupcake shop called Cake in a Cup and bought some cupcakes for the parents. Then I went to the store and bought a really cute 3-month-old girl outfit and a card. I wrapped it all up and headed off to the hospital. After verifying that there was a baby girl born that day (there were three!), I asked the nurse if she could pick one and give the mom my gift. She asked me if I wanted to come back to the room with her, but since I didn’t want to intrude on a new mommy who was likely very tired and frazzled, I declined.
Walking out of the hospital I started to realize something. I had spent a good deal of time trying to think of things to do for myself to make this Birthday special, when all I had to do was think of something to do for someone else. Buying and delivering that gift made this Birthday special in a way that receiving hundred of gifts never could.
Today was memorable not because it was all about me, but because it wasn’t. Sometimes it takes stepping outside yourself to see that.
So happy Birthday baby girl. You are entering a complicated world that at its worst can be cruel and callous and hard. But today, on your Birthday, I hope you only learn of its kindness.
Note: Thank you to all my friends and family members who did go out of their way to make my Birthday special. I may be too old to celebrate with the animatronic mouse at Chuck E’ Cheeses, but you guys are a close second.