Published on December 6th, 2013 | by Brian Jacob0
Birthdays, Babies and Legacies
I just celebrated my 34th birthday. On the morning of, I realized my outlook on birthdays has changed.
Knowing what my wife went through to bring my son into this world has opened my eyes to the work, the pain and the struggles my mom must have faced in giving birth to me, worrying about me, and making sure I turned another year older.
Celebrating a birthday for myself hardly seems appropriate now that I have my munchkin to spoil. But the day itself had me thinking of my what my birthday meant to others.
In all the years I’ve celebrated my birthday, this one is the first I sent good wishes and thanks to my mom. Today is not only special to me – it’s considerably more special to her. It’s the day she held the child she waited 9 months for. In the eyes of parents, their children’s birthdays are confirmation that the time and hard work they’ve put in are paying off. They see the milestones, the achievements, the maturation process of their little babies, and they enjoy their children’s birthdays far greater than we imagine.
I find myself joining in the chorus of new parents who proclaim, “I get it now!” I now know why my mom was so stressed those nights I would go out to see friends, or when I moved to college, or go out to party in Manhattan. I now know why she stresses when I say I’m not feeling well or that I injured myself playing basketball. I know why she always says, “Come back soon,” when I leave the house. We (children) are their (parents) greatest investment. They’ve nurtured us and taught us, expecting us to mature and grow.
While I turned 34, my brother turned 27 and my father, 70. We’re all November babies. Celebrating with my father during his 70th birthday highlighted to me what it means to celebrate a birthday. Watching him gaze at his family, his children, and his grandchild evoked the emotion I had hoped to see: Fulfillment! His house is full. His family is complete. His legacy is set.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” -Shannon L. Alder
As I read that quote over and over again, I realize birthdays now represent opportunities. Opportunities for me to watch my son, my future kids, my wife and myself grow into the experiences God has in store for us, to pass on what the generations before have done for me, and to leave behind stories to be passed on and shared.
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