At some point between discovering I was expecting a baby just before my 30th birthday and now my 35th birthday a big shift happened; as the years have passed, so too have the feelings that surround my birthday.
There was a time when the anticipation and build up for my birthday was met with huge excitement, plans would be made to get together with family and friends; a day would often be taken off work to take some time doing exactly what I felt like doing with those I love.
I am not entirely convinced that those feelings have changed simply because I am now a mummy, it could also be the fact that having had so many birthdays, for me, the day itself has become something more muted and the calmer day I crave throughout the busy weeks…
The feelings of another year ahead have seemingly been replaced by reflection of the year that has just gone by and the years that are behind me. I realise I may sound negative or unhappy, I certainly am not, it is just that there is nothing like a birthday to make you reflect and realise just how much has changed in the last twelve months.
This year, as many others before it, has been filled with plenty of love, laughter and excitement, however it has also seemingly passed in a bit of a fog leaving some things I had planned for last year incomplete!
I can say that there are definitely elements of a birthday that have changed dramatically since becoming a mummy…
A ‘day off’
That day I mentioned above which would be ‘taken off’ work would start with a long lie-in, a gentle paced morning, savouring a hot cup of coffee, long chats, lingering looks with my husband and later uninterrupted chats with my family and friends…
Now there are no lie-ins (well at least not for me anyway!) when my daughter is up, I’m up… coffee in bed becomes fairly treacherous with shrieks of “WATCH OUT! Don’t bounce on the bed, I’ve got a hot coffee!”, the long chats and lingering looks with my husband and chats with family and friends are interrupted with a million and one questions or demands.
The ‘Surprise’ Present
Then there are the presents that you aren’t supposed to know about… but you know about:
About 6 months ago, me and my little girl had a random conversation about a thimble… for the weeks and months that followed, I have overheard her ‘secretly’ tell anyone who will listen about her plans to:
“buy Mummy just what she has always wanted”…
a “thumb protector” otherwise known as a ‘thimble’!
My sister and my husband were both enlisted to help her do just that and indeed when the day came, I had to act totally surprised and blown away by the thimble she had lovingly picked out for me. This present was the present I was to spend the most time talking about, rather than having a little sit back reading the photography book my mother gave me that I was dying to dive into!
Candles and unwrapping presents
The birthday cake which was once just for me to enjoy, is now something that is apparently for my daughter… after all, there is only one person in the house who can blow out birthday candles right?
Yup, so this moment, the one where you could soak up the moment and those around you, is then clouded by the wet blows as the candles go out.
The same goes for opening birthday presents, little fingers are there pulling at the wrapping, opening the present for you instead of taking time to savour each moment of having something exiting to unwrap.
Grown up celebrations
A birthday treat would once upon a time be a meal out in a nice restaurant with or without friends, or a pub where we would prop up the bar and head home after closing, now the birthday celebration has to be ‘child friendly’ with plenty of ‘props’ to keep your child happy and entertained.
There is however a flip side to birthdays as you get older and when you have become a mummy…
It’s watching my daughter’s face once she’s woken me up, bright eyed and excited!
It’s the tiny pitchy singing voice singing me “Happy Birthday” with completely random words thrown in.
It’s opening that ‘Surprise Present’ which I already know about and have her eagerly await my excited shrieks of “how ever did you know I have always wanted a thimble?!” and then have her explain at huge speed, the great lengths she has gone to with her aunt and daddy to get just the right one.
And of course… those ‘child friendly’ venues instead of evenings in swanky restaurants or pubs. Well it’s in the child friendly places that you realise just how lucky you really are. Spending time WITH your little one on your birthday makes you see that any material item you might receive on your birthday is completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
So yes, birthdays change as you get older and when you become a Mummy; the nostalgia and sadness of the things you didn’t manage to achieve the year just passed are there… but there is nothing like a birthday to make me reflect and realise that all of the material ‘things’ and ‘fuss’ that comes with a birthday doesn’t really matter all that much…
A four year old bursting into my room with a huge grin on her face, singing “happy birthday” just for the sheer joy of it makes me realise that all that ‘other stuff’ is just STUFF and that I have just what I need around me.
This morning as the sun shone through the window, me and my girl soaked up the sun together on the sofa and whilst it might not have been the photography book I wanted to read, we sat in the sun with her favourite book, me reading the stories and her, each chapter title… and this was the moment that I enjoyed more than any other on this, my 35th birthday.
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Please Note: I have not been paid for this post or the products mentioned. All thoughts and opinions are my own.