The first week of May is a big birthday time for my family. My husband's birthday is May 3rd, and my oldest daughter's is May 6th.
This convergence seemed almost too good to be true week that Taeko was born. We were living in rural Japan, and it was Golden Week, a period of several national holidays that generally coincides with magnificent display of cherry trees in bloom.
Back in 1986, on May 3rd we celebrated Tom's 23rd birthday. May 5th is Children's Day in Japan, with colorful koi nobori (fish flags) flying from posts in every neighborhood and children participating in greatly anticipated festivities. How perfect that I went into labor on that day of celebration of joy of childhood.
Taeko was born at 1:00 am on May 6th, and as she settled into my arms and gazed out toward open window on her first sunny morning, a gentle breeze picked up a few pink cherry petals from tree right outside and scattered them over her beautiful rosy face.
I will never forget it as long as I live.
As we get older, our birthdays seem to lose their luster. I know many people who prefer to ignore their birthdays altogether.
I understand and respect shift toward fewer gifts and less hoopla, but I think it is a shame to ignore opportunity for mindful reflection. We should view birthdays as prized reminders to connect and celebrate.
Sharing your birthday with others becomes less about unwrapping presents and murmuring "You shouldn't have!" and more about laughing with your loved ones about milestones you've all navigated over years.