This week my son and daughter (twins) celebrate their nineteenth birthday. It will be the first time we are not altogether as a family for their birthday. Damn you, college. There was only one other time this occurred that our family of five was not together during one of our birthdays, but that was due to unusually circumstance.
We were on a summer vacation, visiting family on the West Coast. Our youngest son has a birthday in July. We celebrated with a beach barbecue and party for him a few days before his actual birthday. My dad who lived in Florida was very ill. Before taking the trip, I spoke with him, and he reassured me to take the trip and spend time with my family.
The day before my son’s actual birthday I received a call that I needed to get to Florida, that dad was not well. I travel overnight to get there. Unfortunately, my dad passed while I was en route. It was a terrible day, realizing I had missed both opportunities. I do take solace in the fact that I was honoring my dad’s wishes. I share this to illustrate the unique circumstances that prevented us from being together.
Birthday tradition doesn’t have to be about expensive gifts or big parties. I find just spending time with those that are important to you to make them special. That wasn’t always the case for us.