For my almost 16 years of being a mother I have tried to find a way to deal with the milestone birthdays of my daughter. The most important ones so far have been her 5th birthday because she was starting school and her 13th birthday because she hit the teen years. We are now getting ready next week to celebrate her Sweet 16. These can be very difficult times for some parents.
We are seeing our children growing up, we are yearning for the previous years when they were “little”, we are counting down the days we have left with them before they leave for college, we are also being reminded of how old WE are becoming. Oh yes, when our children have those milestone birthdays, it can cause a flood of thoughts and emotions.
So as parents how do we deal with these big birthdays?
Personally, I believe we need to be sure that we make these dates as special for our children as we can. Although every birthday should be special; those birthdays that come with the tag of being a milestone – a more meaningful birthday in the scheme of life – should be celebrated as such. And we, as parents, need to remember these birthdays are not and should not be reflections of our own lives.
We have our own birthdays to remind us of how old we are becoming (ew!). We should not use our children’s birthdays to remind us of that as well.
So whether our kids are turning 5, 13, 16 or 21 – we need to celebrate that and celebrate them! These are huge moments in their lives. These are moments that our children WILL remember. Do something special, buy them something special, spend that day with them doing something special. Whatever you choose, whatever you are able to do, make that day so very special – for them.
Try to think about how wonderful they are, how much they have accomplished, how good they have been raised, and what special people they are becoming. And if you need to cry a little bit later, then go ahead – after they have had their special day and gone to bed.