Why Birthdays Matter

I’ve never understood when people act like their birthday is just any other day.  I know there are lots of people who do this.  I have good friends and close family members that would prefer to actually not celebrate their own birthday.  I accept it. I guess I just don’t understand it. The funny thing is, I was there once too. My thoughts on why birthdays matter.

Alice 18 Birthday

I shared with you recently in a post, that eighteen years ago my Grandma (Granny) Alice passed away just days before my eighteenth birthday. I withdrew. I wanted nothing to do with my stupid birthday. I vividly remember using that exact phrase. Stupid birthday. I was a teen then, not yet an adult. I hated rules, adults and uncontrollable events.  I loved talking on my phone (one that plugged into the wall), sneaking out of the house to parties and listening to Notorious B.I.G.


It was a pivotal birthday for me, the first time I could vote in an election and the election was on my actual birthday. The start of my love for politics. I just couldn’t get past the loss of my grandma and find a reason to celebrate. A “surprise” birthday was planned for me and I demanded it be canceled. My mother, the punching bag of a decade’s worth of teenage rage, graciously listened to my demands but softly insisted I was still worthy of celebration despite the loss of my grandmother, her mother. She knew why birthdays matter.

Alice and Mom 2013

The party went on and eighteen years later here I am celebrating my birthday again. I’m a bit wrinkly in the corner of my eyes, my tummy bears the stretch of birthing my babies, my mind insightful from lessons of failure and success and my heart is full from loss and life. I think back to those days I ferociously yelled at my mother. Telling her I hated her for wanting to celebrate my birthday. Gosh I wish I could rip those words out of the air. She knew why birthdays matter.

Alice Baby Birthdays

Because now as a mom I get it.  I have three birthdays. My own and my two children’s.  The day they were born, I was reborn.  The joy I live in resides within the moments I am blessed with my children.  Friends, that was my mom eighteen years ago. She knew why birthdays matter.  So while she struggled to accept, deal and understand the death of her mother, she genuinely wanted to celebrate the life of one of her children because in a way it was her birthday too.

I think of the many children’s parties we shuffle to and the friends who come to our children’s party. We always say it to each other. Through the frosted cupcakes, up-all-night cleaning of the house, Pinterest-failed crafts and decorations, as mothers we see her and we celebrate her birthday too.  “Happy Birthday, Mama, you made it too.” We know why birthdays matter.

Alice and mom 1978

I choose to celebrate birthdays.

I choose balloons.

I choose chocolate cake.

I choose cheeseburgers and craft beer.

I celebrate for me and for my mom. I know why birthdays matter.  That birthday represents something for our moms too. Just as we remember holding our own newborn babies, they remember that about us too. They celebrate our milestones and with each year it is a celebration of us growing but also that they made it too. So today on my birthday, I say this to my mom, “Mama you made it, happy birthday to you too.”


Thank you to Sarah Hudson Photography for the picture of me and my mom.

34 thoughts on “Why Birthdays Matter

  1. One of my favorite posts you’ve written–very well said, and so very very true. Happy birthday! What a nice gift to your mom, too.

    • Thanks so much, Krista! It means so much that you said that and that this post connects for you too. I did share it with my mom and she was very touched 🙂

  2. I love birthdays! One of my favorite memories is climbing a mountain in Colorado when I turned 5 years old! I had talked and talked about it and we actually did it! Great times!

  3. Oh, Alice. This post got me all teary-eyed!

    Birthdays feel extra special for my family because our birthdays are so close. Mine and my daughter’s birthdays are only three days apart. In fact, I was in false labor with her on my birthday three years ago. And my husband and son’s birthdays are only 11 days apart. Instead of having four birthday parties every year, we only have to have two 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Aimee. How amazing that everyone has such close birthdays in your family! I love that you guys have celebrations together. What a beautiful connection!

  4. Sprinkles and sparkly things are what I like best. I also like that my birthday was (well still is) in the summer and when I was younger (much) my parents to me to Como Park Zoo and Queen Anne Kiddie Land. They also had angel food cakes with baby dolls in the center and the icing was their dress. What fun memories.

  5. I’m guilty of not being a big birthday celebrator. I’m fine with a dinner or drinks with friends. But not very demanding about it. Whatever happens happens.

  6. I’ve always loved my birthday (and now my son’s) and have many happy memories of planning my activities for my birthday parties growing up, including lots of cheesy games that my friends were always good sports about.

  7. My favorite birthday memory is when my cousin and I would call each other on our birthdays (one day less than a month apart) before school in the morning!

  8. Alice – Since that first contest on TCL to your FB page to this post, you’ve done such a great job at sharing innovative recipes, your family values and the things that are important to you. And for your fans, we’re right there enjoying it along with you. Birthdays have become more and more dear to me as my family and friends all get older and appreciate the closeness and time we have together.

    • Oh Jennifer. You don’t know how much this note means to me. I am so thankful you took the time to write here. I love offering fun giveaways, giving you creative recipes and sharing what’s happening in my life. Thank YOU for being here and sharing your thoughts!

  9. I love Birthdays! They are my favorite Holiday! I love to hear about them celebrate them and anything to do with them! It is to celebrate the person they are and what they have become! I love it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! BTW 🙂

  10. Happy Birthday Alice!!
    My favorite Birthday memory would have to be my 30th. I had just given birth to my son a few weeks prior, he was the best birthday gift ever. 🙂

  11. One of my favorite birthday memories is from the day my son was born. Looking at my husband holding Ben for the first time, seeing pure joy on his face, in his smile, will be a memory I will never forget.

  12. Happy belated birthday!

    One of my favorite birthday memories was of blowing out the candles with my mom. Her birthday is the day before mine. When I was little, I thought it was cool sharing a cake but as I grew up I realized that she was giving up her birthday for me, so I also made her a special cake just for her.

  13. Loved your blog story…..and I couldn’t agree more about our children’s birthdays!! My favorite birthday memory is mostly celebrating with family! My Mom has always made sure my day is extra special!

  14. Favorite bday memory as a child – my first bike, pink with fantastic sparkly white training wheels. Favorite bday memory as an adult – gathering a few of my close friends for a yoga/shopping/wine/yummies party in a private space with twinkling lights on a hot summer night. Cheers to birthdays, and thanks for sharing your lovely words on why you celebrate.

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